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2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

These days, vehicle electrification seems to be all the rage. But not so much, it seems, for Hyundai.

Some automakers, including Nissan and Chevrolet have already launched their electrified vehicles and Mitsubishi, Ford, Toyota and others will join the mix, soon. But one name nearly absent from the list of automakers set to launch electrified vehicles in the U.S. is Hyundai.

Why is Hyundai so uninterested in putting plugs into its automobiles? Well, the company's recent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) numbers beat all automakers. Hyundai focuses on maximizing the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and sees no immediate rush to electrify its vehicles. John Krafcik, chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, told Automotive News (sub. req.) that:
Honestly, our focus isn't on hybrid. Our focus is on optimizing internal combustion and getting as many fuel-efficient vehicles out there, across the lineup. That's the way you do it. If you look at the math, if you look at how CAFE math works, volume trumps everything.
Of course, affordability is most likely the biggest issue, as costly electric and plug-in autos would be out of place among Hyundai's value-oriented lineup of vehicles.


2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
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  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid front 3/4 view
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  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid door trim

Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      There's a new law in Germany that evaluates environmental classification of vehicles based on size, not only their emissions, so large cars with high CO2 emissions could possibly carry better ratings than small vehicles with lower emissions. There's a lot of debate around the topic saying it's greenwash and now manufacturers will make heavier cars to cover up for their high emissions. What do you think? You can read more here: http://ecomobility.tv/forums/topic/a-porsche-and-a-city-car-same-carbon-footprint
      lne937s
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think in terms of trying to meet long-term CAFE standards, Hyundai's vehicle mix has more to do with it than anything. Their highest volume cars are compacts and subcompacts. Compare to other automakers who have full-sized trucks as their top vehicles. If you sell a significant volume of thirsty vehicles, you need something rated very high to offset it. With Hyundai's vehicle mix, much like Honda's, there is not as much need.
      Roy_H
      • 4 Years Ago
      About 2 years ago Hyundai made a big deal about their new hybrid cars using the same Korean made batteries as used in the Volt. Hyundai also bought the rights to manufacture the high performance electric motor designed by Raser Technologies. (There are only a few electric motors in this class including Tesla and Volt motors.) I am surprised by the headline, but I don't believe for a minute that they have stopped research and design on hybrids and BEVs.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Years Ago
      EVs have many strengths, but so far, profitability is not one of them.
      Michael Walsh
      • 4 Years Ago
      They're only saying that now. Wait until they have an EV or PHEV they need to sell....that will see them changing their tune!
      Michael Walsh
      • 4 Years Ago
      BTW, I know for a fact that they've been flirting with the idea of a BEV.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, their approach is good in my eyes. They have a lineup consisting mostly of small and efficient engines. The amount of people that can afford a plug-in hybrid or electric car is small, and the days of internal combusion have yet to end. Keep on bringing the excellent teched-out DI motors!
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 4 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Sometimes you have to settle for the lesser evil. EV/PHEV sales are 1% or less of gas car sales. So i'm all for better gas cars for those people that either can't afford, can't charge, or have range needs that aren't met by the current generation of electrified cars.
      emperor koku
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Of course, affordability is most likely the biggest issue, as costly electric and plug-in autos would be out of place among Hyundai's value-oriented lineup of vehicles." Ha. Like that's stopped them before. (See: Genesis, Equus.) If they could make a Leaf for $2k less, that seems to fit their business model.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 4 Years Ago
        @emperor koku
        Sure.. But look at the larger cars again; they are much cheaper than their luxury competition. Anyway it is hard to compete on EV stuff still; the price of the batteries and motor are the big thing holding up adoption. The only reason i mention motors is that neodymium magnet prices are exploding as we speak. I'm in contact with a fellow who sells motors out of China and i hear him complain about it often. His price has gone up 60% in the last year.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai,like Ford, came close to bankruptcy. As a result, Hyundai is conservatively maximising profit at least expenditure and capital investment. US commentators tend to think only in terms of the US market. In the past the US market was all important, but today, other markets are growing more rapidly. Hyundai has also been careful monitoring the success of it's (glider supply) JVC EV manufacturing partnership in Australia. The Blade EV has been available for sale in Australia for 5 years, long before Leaf or iMev. Australia has no EV rebates, and accordingly, Blade struggles to sell even minimal numbers. Hyundai views this experience as an indication that without some major technical breakthrough to reduce Hyundai's price, competition in the very small EV market would be financially unprofitable, and dependant on government subsidies which may be withdrawn. Instead, Hyundai will allow Toyota,GM and Nissan etc.to build the EV market before Hyundai enters with a cut price, but quality EV vehicle.
      vwfailsagain
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai is doing it right. Everybody else FAILs
        DrEvil
        • 4 Years Ago
        @vwfailsagain
        Please explain. While I love the amazing capabilities of today's ICE powered automobiles, one would be rather stupid not to look to the future. Hyundai had better pay attention to what's in the rear view mirror, because its gaining on them. 10 or 15 years ago, the electric autos in any form other than golf carts were non factors. 10 or 15 years from now they will probably rule the world. The only real obstacle is the infrastructure, and that's changing as we speak.
      Peter
      • 4 Years Ago
      Easy to say this if you can foresee the next 5 years of corporate EPA within target (even without GDI on your smallest cars) and having only a (delayed) first generation hybrid on offer (compared to Toyota, Nissan and Ford who are all pushing very slick very smooth next gen hybrids). They will learn how to engineer hybrids in time, and if at that time plug in hybrids are going strong, they will introduce a plugin option.
      Nick
      • 4 Years Ago
      Makes sense, except that they're missing out on tech patents (most of which are now held by Toyota and GM). They'll have to license it from them in a few years, at an extra cost.
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