Back in August, Hyundai chief executive officer John Krafcik boldly claimed that the Korean automaker will shoot for a 50-mile-per-gallon fleet average by 2025. Reaching that lofty mark has Hyundai rethinking its model lineup. In the near future, Hyundai will wheel out a Prius-like dedicated gas-electric vehicle and aims to launch more hybrid versions of its current gasoline-fueled models. What we want to know is: what's the chance of seeing a Sonata plug-in hybrid?
According to Mike O'Brien, Hyundai's head of product planning, a plug-in Sonata is definitely doable and, in fact, is significantly easier to develop than one might think. On the sidelines of this year's Detroit Auto Show, Plugin Cars caught up with O'Brien and prodded him about the automaker's plug-in plans. O'Brien responded:
While Hyundai trails some automakers that have already ventured down the plug-in hybrid path, O'Brien explained that Hyundai doesn't intend to lag behind for long:Our technology development in hybrids was specifically to address the issue of future plug-in deployment. Other manufacturers' hybrid systems were developed in such a way to not allow them to easily develop plug-in hybrids. For the Sonata Hybrid to become a plug-in hybrid, really all we need are bigger batteries. The basic technology platform is already designed to support a plug-in variation
Oh, we will.Look for something very soon, potentially one of the upcoming auto shows in the next six months to a year.