Plug-In Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima Confirmed Coming Next Year

OCT 16 2014 BY JAY COLE 22

A recent report from The Korean Car Blog passes along word from Hyundai’s Research and Development Vice Chairman Yang Woong-Chul, that plug-in hybrid models of both the Sonata and next-gen Kia K5 (or Optima in some markets), are both scheduled to be released in 2015.

“We will roll out a plug-in hybrid model of Sonata and K5 next year. Since we will use locally made engines, inverters and batteries, we expect them to have strong price competitiveness.”  – Woong-Chul from the 2014 R&D Idea Festival on October 7th

The Kia Soul EV Will Soon Have A New Plug-In Stable Mate In The Kia Optima Plug-In

The Kia Soul EV Will Soon Have A New Plug-In Stable Mate In The Kia Optima Plug-In

For 2015, the USA gets a new Sonata under the Hyundai brand, while Kia launches the next generation of Optima next summer as a 2016 model year car.

Since the Hyundai/Kia group is also targeting China, expect both the cars to have at least the 50km of range (NEDC), or around 22 miles (on the US EPA metric) of all electric range that the other recent plug-in cars in the region have to qualify for local incentives.

While Kia is using their associate, SK Innovation for the batteries in the Kia Soul EV, (which have an energy density of 200Wh/kg at the cell level), they could utilize these same batteries and thus easily fit a Volt-like 40 miles of electric range into these cars.

However, we’re guessing that to get enough supply of batteries Hyundai/Kia may instead look to LG Chem to source batteries, as that South Korean company, with 22 separate OEM contracts in place already, seems to have a lock on the automotive lithium battery business these days.

The Korean Car Blog (via AutoEvolution), hat tip to David M

Categories: Hyundai, Kia


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22 Comments on "Plug-In Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima Confirmed Coming Next Year"

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Looks like they figured out something that Toyota hasn’t figured out yet.

Toyota and Honda. although a PHEV gets no ZEV credits so Hyundai will likely continue with their FCV offering.

They do have the KIA soul (Hyundai and KIA are the same company, right?)

This is really good news. Period.

Excellent news (assuming they don’t get stupid and overprice the cars, obviously).

Every announcement and then availability of such a vehicle moves us closer to the psychological tipping point where cars with plugs aren’t seen as some weird anomaly, but the norm for new passenger vehicle.

Great! The more the merrier! I’m sure some will complain about the electric range, but it’s infinitely better than the zero miles today’s Sonata/Optima get!

I’ve always liked the Kia Optima.. It is a beautiful car. And I’d certainly consider buying one if it was a PHEV.

“It is a beautiful car”

what did i just read

Who would prefer one of these to the Audi A3 Sportsback PHEV?

Many would, if the price is right. In the US, the gas A3 starts at $30k and the Sonata starts at $21k. If that $9k price difference holds, the Sonata PHEV will have no problem competing with the A3 PHEV.

Even only to get rid of the pumpkin A3 shape would already be a good reason. Lol.

Too bad they aren’t also making BEV versions of these w/some serious 3 digit range.

Well, it ain’t pretty, but the Kia Soul has the longest driving range of any BEV which is not a Tesla, around 93 miles, and the shape is at any rate very practical:

Actually, both the RAV4 EV (EPA at 103 miles) and B-Class electric (EPA at 104 miles extended mode) have longer range than Kia Soul (EPA at 93 miles) and not to mention the RAV4 EV and B-Class electric are bigger, roomier, and actually much faster 0-60 mph time (RAV4 EV 7 secs B-Class electric 7.9 secs; Soul 12 secs).

Of course, Soul is cheaper but definitely not the longest driving range outside of Tesla.

He said non-Tesla cars, those are both powered by Tesla powertrains so they don’t count. RAV4EV is also not even made anymore.

Actually, I had not given it any thought, and was simply quoting ABG on the range thing, but did not get around to putting in the quotation marks!

Omitting the RAV 4 seems fair enough though as it is no longer produced.
Dunno about the Merc, but it is at a totally different price point anyway.

The Soul is for those who would like a Leaf, but need better room and perhaps a tad more range.

If they come with LG Chem batteries and compete with the Volt on range and price I would consider one. Lets wait and see.

Toyota PHEV 11mile AER, Ford 20 mile AER, Hyundai 22 mile AER way to raise the bar. Ford your up show them why America is the world leader. Tesla GM and Chrysler have all ready reported.

Not everyone is an electric car enthusiast, in fact sales correlate very well to price and incentives like lane access, for instance the Toyota PIP has dropped off a cliff in sales since they stopped the lane access in California. It resumes in January, so expects its sales and those of the two Ford’s also affected to bounce right back. So for manufacturers it is not a case of maximising AER, but getting the balance right with cost. For the non-enthusiast market that means the extra range including incentives coming to less than the petrol would over the first few years, perhaps 4. Another 20 miles of range gives you around another 7,000 petrol free miles a year, at 30mpg as this class of car is pretty economic that comes to 233 gallons. At $3.50/gallon that is $816. Call it an even $1,000, and the car manufacturers have something like $4,000 to play with after subsidy to give another 20 miles of range. I don’t follow the ins and outs of US or Californian subsidy for different kwh, others will know the figures better, but that sounds perhaps do-able, even though the cost of PHEV batteries should not be confused… Read more »

Too bad they keep on reproducing that same PHEVsystem model instead of reproducing the much more interesting i3 rex system model. A sonata with 100 miles EV range and a micro rex would be fantastic.

Much more interesting to who?
What an enthusiast wants and the compromises he is prepared to make to get it are a very different thing to what the general public wants.

A car which can be driven as a no-compromise hybrid ICE on a long run but still gets a lot of local running around on electric sounds like a pretty good call to me.

There are at least as many people that think it is better the other way around a non compromise ev with a true range but that still has a generator for very long range.