Like every other automaker that intends to do business in the U.S., Hyundai is planning for the future and the proposed fuel economy standards that are expected to hit in 2015. Currently, Hyundai's passenger cars average 32.4 mpg, while its trucks average 25.5 mpg. When the new regulations are in place, those numbers will have to increase to 37.5 mpg and 31.0 mpg, respectively. Hyundai's approach involves two separate strategies that will work together to achieve those figures.

The first step is to increase electrical efficiency by utilizing more LED technology that puts less strain on the powertrain, along with the use of electric power steering systems (in place of hydraulic units), direct-injection engines and six-speed transmissions. Those changes will be accompanied by the use of lightweight materials, aerodynamic enhancements and low-rolling resistance tires. While the electric power steering system only adds around one mpg overall, the combination of DI engines and six-speed 'boxes should increase fuel economy by between three and six percent.

Within the next two years, Hyundai plans to equip all of its V6-powered vehicles with six-speed gearboxes, while smaller models, with four-cylinder mills, will be upgraded to five-speed transmissions. All of this should help Hyundai achieve its goals, but more needs to be done, and Hyundai's senior manager of the powertrain department, Timothy White, says, "There is really no home run out there." Incremental are what it's about for the time being, and Hyundai seems to be making the first of many steps to accomplish that goal.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]