• Aug 4, 2010
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Hyundai is nothing if not ambitious. The Korean automaker announced today that it will continue its efforts to be the most fuel-efficient automaker in America through the next two decades, with plans to achieve a Corporate Average Fuel Economy rating of 50 miles per gallon by 2025 for its entire vehicle lineup.

The cornerstone of Hyundai's approach is its Blue Drive strategy, which incorporates a range of engine technologies – from turbocharging and direct-injection to lightweight materials and both traditional and plug-in hybrids – to reduce consumption and improve overall efficiency.

Hyundai points to the 2011 Sonata as the first in a wave of new products to utilize its new and improved drivetrains, available with either hybrid, turbocharged and naturally aspirated engines. And Hyundai appears to be in a better position than other full-line automakers to reach its lofty mpg goal, as it doesn't offer any pickup or body-on-frame SUV models. Hit the jump for the full blast and read our First Drive of the Sonata Hybrid for details on its gas-electric system.

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  • Since 2008 Hyundai has been the most fuel-efficient manufacturer in the U.S.
  • Since becoming the leader in fuel economy, Hyundai market share is up 50 percent
  • Hyundai's next goal: Average at least 50 mpg by 2025 through innovative Blue Drive™ technologies

Hyundai Motor America, the leading fuel economy auto manufacturer in the U.S., announced plans to maintain its leadership and achieve a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rating of at least 50 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025 for its lineup of passenger cars and light duty trucks.

Current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations require automakers to achieve a CAFE rating of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Before those rules were enacted last year, Hyundai had already announced its own plan to reach 35 mpg by 2015. Hyundai's announcement of this longer-term goal of delivering a minimum 50 mpg CAFE rating by 2025 is consistent with its philosophy of setting stretch objectives that align its resources, challenge its team members, and delight consumers and society.

"We're committed to setting the pace in this industry on fuel economy, and we're inspired by the possibilities that our advanced Blue Drive technologies afford," said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Getting to 50 mpg and beyond seems like a huge leap, but by making this commitment and aligning our R&D initiatives now, we know we can get there."

Hyundai has shown that customers will flock to high-quality, stylish products offering high fuel economy. The game-changing all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata is the first mid-size family sedan to offer only 4-cylinder engines. Sonata achieves an EPA highway rating of 35 mpg, yet leads competitors in power output through the use of advanced gasoline direct injection (GDI). Sonata's sales were up 48 percent in the first half of 2010, while its transaction prices and residual values now exceed those of most mid-size competitors. The Sonata and its 2.4-liter Theta II GDI engine are built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

"This is our simple formula for success in the automobile industry," said Krafcik. "Rather than fighting fuel economy regulation, we encourage our Hyundai engineers to deliver more fuel efficiency, faster, accelerating the benefits to our customers, society, and the planet."
Since becoming the fuel economy leader in the 2008 model year, Hyundai Motor America market share is up more than 50 percent.

A Global Research and Development Effort

Hyundai's plan to achieve an average of 50 mpg or better encompasses a full line of products, from small cars to larger family haulers. It leverages Hyundai's global Blue Drive strategy, aligning R&D resources at its engineering centers in California, Michigan, Korea, India and Germany to develop more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies. Key enablers are improvements and innovation in powertrains including gasoline direct injection, turbocharging, electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, light-weight materials and design, and more.

2011 Sonata Leads the Way

The 2011 Sonata, which went on sale earlier this year, features a 2.4-liter Theta II GDI 4-cylinder as its base engine, offering up to 200 horsepower and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. By offering only 4-cylinder engines and through other weight optimization efforts, Hyundai engineers were able to reduce the weight of the Sonata by 130 pounds.

This fall, Hyundai will launch the 2.0T 4-cylinder turbo option for the 2011 Sonata and the company's first hybrid in the United States. The Sonata Hybrid features a 2.4-liter Theta II 4-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an electric motor-boosted 6-speed automatic transmission. The Sonata Hybrid incorporates an industry-first lithium polymer battery, which packs greater power density and stability into a smaller, more package-efficient space.

Sonata's Hybrid Blue Drive system eschews the typical continuously variable transmission for a more consumer-friendly step-shift 6-speed transmission, which makes the system more cost-effective and more readily adaptable to other future applications. Sonata exemplifies Hyundai's efforts to bring advanced power train technologies to the mainstream.

Fuel Economy Leadership Since 2008 Model Year

Hyundai achieved fuel economy leadership by topping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy report for the 2008 model year. The EPA 2009 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report indicates that Hyundai has the highest 2008 model year laboratory 55/45 fuel economy at 30.9 mpg. Hyundai passed all major manufacturers in combined passenger car and light duty truck fuel efficiency including traditional leaders like Honda and Toyota. The report demonstrates the effectiveness of Hyundai's value-driven fuel-efficiency strategy, which focuses on the intelligent application of cost-effective technologies.

Hyundai is poised to maintain its fuel-economy leadership as projected data for the 2009 model year shows Hyundai retaining its edge over the industry. Forecasts show a 2009 model-year fuel economy rating of 30.1 mpg for passenger cars and light duty trucks. Hyundai is also the only automaker to top 30 mpg in the 2009 projections.[1][1]

Environmental Protection Agency Fuel Economy Reports

* From EPA Table A-7 2009 Trends Report (Appendix A) http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/420r09014-appx-a.pdf
**Includes ten highest-volume manufacturers. Based on sales projections for the ten highest volume manufacturers. EPA Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975-2009 Report. Honda includes combined Honda and Acura brands. Hyundai excludes Kia brand.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I'm proud of Hyundai, this seems a little pathetic. I mean in over 100 years of ICE research and constantly trying to perfect it, can't engineers do better than 50mpg by 2025??!! I mean come on. I'm no engineer but damn this seems a little ridiculous. I'm no conspiracy theorist but could it be the oil companies behind this sad average?
        • 4 Years Ago

        Cafe is actually calculated by a harmonic mean. So if you sell four cars that get 15, 13, 17, and 100 miles per gallon, the fleet average is 18.83 miles per gallon.

        An arithmetic mean gives you how the fleet would go on average if each car had a gallon of gas. The harmonic mean is calculated from hypothetically driving all the cars in the fleet the same number of miles and figuring the gas usage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Some things are still going to be a constant:

        Rolling resistance in the tires
        Wind resistance
        Reciprocating mass in the wheels, tires, brakes, axles, flywheel/torque converter, ect.
        Air conditioning necessity for anyone not broke as crap or living in a 3rd world county.

        However, today's engines make more power and still use less fuel. If you were to take today's contemporary engine from a "compact" of today and shoehorn it into a much older compact's engine bay, I can assure you that it would get slightly better fuel economy while spitting out a fraction of a fraction of the emissions.

        Cars weight quite a bit more than they did in the past for equal sizes, and people also expect them to be bigger still. The old Civic hatchbacks are smaller than today's Honda Fit.

        I wish there were some way to have an efficiency rating where you would measure how much fuel it took to generate a specific amount of power (Kw/hr) over a certain period of time. Then you could see how well the engine does outside of the vehicle before anything made it to the transmission.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do you realize how far we've come in power, comfort, safety, and the sheer amount of technology in our cars? Do you understand what it is to have a huge "boat" of our modern cars making hundreds of horsepower from relatively small displacement four and six cylinder motors? How about an LS7 hitting in the upper 20's for MPG?

        Remember that video yesterday about the Cutlass? Look at that and see how far we've come.

        I kind of get tired of this type of talk. Do you know of some stone tablet somewhere where it is written how much progress we "should" be making in any given field? Are you an expert in the consumer ICE field who knows what innovations need to happen and how difficult they may be? Do you have lots of ideas to improve ICEs? No? Then how could you say such a thing?
        • 4 Years Ago
        CAFE is the measure of your entire fleet. That means you could have a car that gets 80 mpg and have another one that does only 20 mpg. Averaged out, you get 50 mpg.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, you are so misinformed.

        We have the tech to do 50mpg average today. But emissions equipment and safety are holding it back. Cars could have literally half the displacement and half the weight, with the tech we have.

        But you trade that for over 10 times more air pollution and many more dead people. We've decided these things are important.

        Get an electric and stop complainin', simplecar. :)
        Or do what i'm doing.. get an electric bike and use the car sparingly. That will improve your mpg :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai is taking a leadership roll again. They will become market leaders by taking this track. .- Suneel Sawant
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know how anyone could honestly call anyone a "leader" just by saying something.

        The fact is, there is absolutely nothing in hyundai's line up that's currently anything close to 50mpg (or 40mpg). Other "non-leaders" like Toyota at least have Prius for show.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The mpg number is a CAFE number, which is literally designed to be manipulated. Publishing a CAFE number without associated conditions is meaningless. Reprinting meaningless Hyundai statements lacks integrity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm pretty sure making statements about what you'll do in the future doesn't magically make you a leader. Actually doing something before everyone else is what makes you a leader.
        Even if Hyundai manages it though it'll probably be mostly because they don't rely on truck sales like the other manufacturers do, so it's fairly silly since people who need pickups still need to buy pickups so it doesn't make Hyundai any greener just because they don't bother to supply that segment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai's ambition is really inspiring. Here's to hoping they won't have to eat their words.

      But I wonder... if electrification continues, 50 MPG should be a modest goal by 2025. By then, we'll probably be doing MPKWH or something.

      Or we could be invaded by space zombies and be barely holding on for existence.
        • 4 Years Ago

        Given that most organizations agree that peak oil will happen in 2015.. this is indeed a pretty silly goal. Prices are only low right now because demand is ( thanks to the recession ). China's suckin' oil like silly though.. I question whether or not we will have any oil left for transportation by 2025. Or it will be so cost prohibitive that an electric/hydrogen/magic pony power car would seem to be the obvious choice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You wonder how they plan on doing it. And you wonder how a car's CAFE rating is calculated. I know a car's CAFE rating is usually higher than its EPA combined milage. Is the CAFE rating comparable to its EPA highway milage? Higher still?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Electric cars and hybrids.

        Heck, this could be possible right now if you didn't sell any large sedans/trucks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good for Hyundai, but 2025 is probably 8 CEOs and several presidents away. Let's see how far along they are in 2022.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hopefully it'll start an MPG war instead of an HP war.
      • 4 Years Ago
      North Korea could really ruin Hyundai's plans if the ever choose to. I would not invest my money there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      50mpg in 2025?
      15 years after?

      This is not so amazing number.
      50mpg is very very easy goal in 2025.
      (even chevy volt is 230 mpg)
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