2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Base Price Announced

By dancurranjr On December 21st, 2010

Hyundai this week announced a price of $25,795 for the base-level 2011 Sonata Hybrid, with the premium package going for $30,795. That means the Sonata Hybrid will beat the Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,240) and the Toyota Camry Hybrid ($26,575) on price. It already has an edge on fuel efficiency, aerodynamics, light weight, and enjoyable driving.

Fuel economy for the Sonata and Fusion Hybrids are nearly identical, but with highway and city numbers swapped. The Sonata Hybrid offers 36 in the city and 40 on the highway, while the Fusion Hybrid is rated at 41/36. The Toyota Camry Hybrid falls behind at 33/34.

Hyundai believes that its use of a six-speed automatic transmission gives the Sonata Hybrid an edge on driving enjoyment. “There’s nothing specifically synergistic between a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and a hybrid,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai USA, who rode with us during a recent drive of the Sonata Hybrid. Krafcik’s complaint about CVTs is the “non-linearity” between pedal input from the driver, and the sound you hear. On the other hand, with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Krafcik believes that “you get back exactly what you expect based on what your foot is doing.”

Based on our driving experience, and now the announcement of a compelling price, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid raises the bar for hybrids in a mid-size model aimed for the heart of the mainstream market. It’s the first hybrid for Hyundai (which on a winning streak) and it’s the first affordable hybrid model to use lithium ion batteries. While not as exciting as the first mainstream electric cars being delivered to consumers this week, it offers the promise of hybrid technology being incorporated into the most popular models on the road, and therefore having a major impact on reducing fuel consumption.

The Sonata Hybrid hits dealerships in January. Unfortunately, that’s right after the expected $1,300 hybrid tax incentive will have already expired.

SOURCE: HybridCars.com

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Delayed Until January

By dancurranjr On December 18th, 2010

The U.S. launch of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has slipped a month, just enough to preclude buyers from taking advantage of a $1,300 Federal tax credit that expires December 31.

According to Hyundai, the first cars will now reach dealers in January or perhaps later, rather than in early or mid December as it had originally hoped. Spokesman Miles Johnson confirmed the delay to High Gear Media editor Marty Padgett.

The 2011 Sonata Hybrid is expected to be one of the few hybrids that delivers higher gas mileage in highway use than in the city. Hyundai cites statistics showing more than half of U.S. driving time is spent at higher speeds.

Hyundai predicted in June that the hybrid Sonata would achieve U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings of 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.

The eagerly awaited hybrid version of the popular 2011 Sonata was first unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March. It is unique among hybrids in having entirely different front styling than the conventional gasoline car on which it’s based. That provides clear exterior identification for buyers who want to show off their green credentials.

To reassure any customers who might have qualms about buying a hybrid-electric vehicle from a manufacturer without a previous history in hybrids, Hyundai said last month it would warranty the car’s battery pack for 10 years or 100,000 miles of use.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the first mass-market hybrid sold with a lithium-ion battery pack, which is more compact and holds more energy than the older nickel-metal-hydride chemistry used in hybrids from Toyota, Honda, Ford and General Motors.

SOURCE: FoxNews.com

Can Hyundai Face Down Japan’s Hybrid Prius in Its Own Backyard?

By dancurranjr On May 23rd, 2009

hyundai_avante_blackMotorists will have a wider range of choices of eco-friendly vehicles after Japan’s top hybrid makers decided to market their products in competition with Hyundai-Kia models. With Toyota and Honda poised to release their versions, Hyundai-Kia’s first commercial production of more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicles is also underway.

Toyota’s signature model, the Prius, will be available in Korea in October. The newest edition, which was released Monday in Japan, posted 75,000 sales orders even before its launch. Honda is also biding its time before introducing its hybrid, the New Insight, to Korean customers.

Hyundai-Kia Automotive plans to launch liquefied petroleum injection hybrid editions of its sedans, the Avante and the Forte, in July and September, respectively.

The Prius has a fuel efficiency of some 30 kilometers per liter, well ahead of the 17.2 kilometers of the Avante. That’s also linked to the reason Hyundai-Kia decided to go for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of gasoline in the development of hybrid models. Since LPG is cheaper than gasoline, low fuel costs can offset the disadvantage in fuel efficiency.

Hyundai-Kia is also currently working on a gas hybrid of the Sonata sedan. The launch of this new model is scheduled for later this year, before debuting in the U.S. market early next year. Backed by this advantage, prices will play the decisive factor for Japanese makers, industry watchers say.

If Toyota offers relatively reasonable prices, and the yen becomes cheaper against the won, prices of the Prius could come down to around 30 million won, according to industry sources. In Japan, the latest Prius model starts at 2.05 million yen. Avante and Forte hybrids, on the other hand, are expected to go for about 25 million won.

Experts say Japanese models could dominate the hybrid market if their prices are set below the 30 million won mark. The Japanese vehicles have already proved themselves over a decade-long history in global markets. Nearly 1.25 million Prius sedans have been sold worldwide since it was first launched in 1997.

“With the price set under 30 million won, the Prius could even make inroads into the Korean mid-sized sedan market, beyond the hybrid one,” Prof. Kim Pil-soo of Daelim College said. Still, it remains to be seen whether Toyota will introduce a cheaper or high-end edition here. In Japan, the highest-class Prius model is sold at over 40 million won.

Toyota Korea said the price policy for the vehicle is still flexible.

“Nothing has been confirmed about the price,” a Toyota official said. “For now, I can only say it will be decided at a level not too far ahead or behind those of our possible rivals in the market.” Hybrid vehicles are regarded as having the biggest potential for market expansion. Last year, a total of 496,000 were sold worldwide, growing over three times in four years from 163,000 in 2004.

Currently, Japanese makers take up more than 90 percent of the global market, with Toyota accounting for more than 80 percent.

SOURCE: Korea Times

2011 Sonata Hybrid, and Maybe Equus?

By dancurranjr On May 11th, 2009

2009-hyundai-blue-will-concept-at-the-2009-seoul-motor-showIt’s shaping up to be a banner fall, if you work at one of the automakers that will still be in business in its current shape come September.

That’s the case at Hyundai, where the ambitious product strategy has two and maybe three new vehicles in the bullpen for 2009 and early 2010. The first? A new 2010 Hyundai Tucson crossover set for launch sometime by the end of the year. Hyundai execs suggest the Tucson may be shown off this year on its way to showrooms as a 2010 model. The early preview of the new crossover came this year already, in the form of the HED-6 ix-onic concept from the Geneva motor show in February. A conventional powertrain with a four-cylinder engine and a five- or six-speed automatic is in the cards, along with an all-wheel-drive option.

Next up comes a new generation of the Hyundai Sonata, the big mid-size sedan that’s scooped up awards from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates. The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is on its way, and this time around, a hybrid powertrain will join the four-cylinder and six-cylinder lineup. It’s not known which engine will get the battery/motor backup, but the four-cylinder engine in the 2009 Sonata is new this year.

The next-generation Sonata’s been designed and developed in Hyundai’s Orange County, California offices, and is a good bet to be shown at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show in November. Both the Tucson and the Sonata Hybrid could make their world debuts at the show–or both could be postponed a little later.

Finally, the big Hyundai Equus luxury sedan bandied about at the New York auto show earlier this year could be headed for the U.S. as well. While Hyundai still says it’s under consideration, other sources say the Equus is coming, and that the chairman of Hyundai personally wants to see the rear-drive, V-8-powered four-door in America.

SOURCE: The Car Connection

Hyundai Hybrid Powered by Advanced Lithium Polymer Technology

By dancurranjr On March 19th, 2009

2009-hyundai-sonataAccording to Hyundai, their first hybrid vehicle is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in October 2010.  This hybrid, based on the Sonata platform and shown at auto shows as the part of the Blue Drive concept will have its own distinctive styling that sets it apart from a standard Sonata sedan.  Further, Hyundai now states that it may no longer be called the Sonata.

According to Woong-chui Yang, president of Research and Development for Hyundai-Kia Motors said Hyundai, “May change the name if the exterior is quite different.  People who drive a hybrid like to be differentiated.”

The Blue Drive name applies to a line up of hybrid vehicles from Hyundai that employ specialty batteries made by LG Chem to provide electric power to the vehicles.  Hyundai use lithium polymer batteries to power their hybrid vehicles.  The lithium polymer batteries made by LG Chem are more durable and space efficient than current nickel metal hydride batteries and lithium ion batteries used by other automakers.

Since lithium polymer batteries offer increased density, they can be made in smaller sizes than current batteries and still have comparable driving ranges.  Lithium polymer batteries are less costly to produce than current lithium ion batteries and offer several other benefits.  Lithium polymer is more resistant to heat and temperature changes and their self discharge rate is 1/3 that of comparable nickel metal hydride batteries.

At the heart of any hybrid vehicle lies the batteries that power it.  Making batteries that cost less to produce, that hold a charge for longer, and that weigh less is essential for the success of hybrid vehicles.  Hyundai, along with battery supplier LG Chem have made great strides in the Blue Drive lineup of Hyundai vehicles.

Look for the new Sonata Hybrid powered by LG Chem’s lithium polymer batteries, likely to be sold under a different name than Sonata, to hit showroom floors in October of 2010.

SOURCE: All Cars Electric