Hyundai is already far closer to meeting the new corporate average fuel economy standards than most automakers thanks to their current fleet averages of 32.4mpg for cars and 25.5 for trucks. Under the new footprint-based formula that sets individual standards for manufacturers based on the size of the vehicles they sell, Hyundai will have to reach a higher than average threshold. By 2015, Hyundai's car fleet will have to average 37.5mpg and the trucks will have to hit 31mpg. According to Timothy White, senior manager of the powertrain department at the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center near Ann Arbor, the company expects to get about half that improvement from improvements in engines and transmissions. The company will be shifting from five to six speed transmissions over the next few years and adding direct fuel injection. Hyundai is also developing alternative powertrains like hybrids and diesel engines for vehicles like the Veracruz and Kia Borrego.

The rest of the improvement will come from a variety of other technologies including the obvious ones like improved aerodynamics, lower rolling resistance tires and reductions in vehicle mass. Other improvements will come from reductions in parasitic losses in less obvious areas. Shifting to electric power steering which uses power only when needed instead of driving a hydraulic pump continuously is one area targeted for improvement. Another is using LED lighting to reduce the electrical load on the alternator.

[Source: AutoWeek]

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