Hyundai is no stranger to the hybrid game, selling a gas-electric version of the Sonata in the US since 2011. The 2015-model-year version gets 38 miles per gallon combined, which is certainly admirable but not quite in the same league as the hybrid champion Toyota Prius (50 mpg combined). New spy shots reveal that Hyundai might be finally ready to targeting the non-plug-in fuel economy leader. Why else would some mysterious Hyundai prototypes be cruising through the desert hills with a few Prius
The motor generates 30 kilowatts (40.2 horsepower) and 151 pound-feet of torque and handles drive and regenerative braking duties. That's well short of the 106 hp of the Ford Fusion motor and the 141 hp of the Toyota Camry motor. Nevertheless, Hyundai claims the Sonata can operate in EV mode at up to 62 mph. We'd guess that actually means the Sonata can shut down the engine and cruise on electricity at high speeds but can't actually accelerate to that speed on battery power, but we're looking in
In recent months, it seems that South Korean buyers have been increasingly less enamored with hybrid vehicles... at least when it comes to buying them. In February, nationwide sales of hybrids dipped to only 591 units, a mere 0.5 percent market share.
Hyundai has decided not to wait until 2020 to get its fleet average fuel economy up to 35 mpg, aiming instead for 2015. That will provide several advantages for the Korean manufacturer, including earning credits for being ahead of the curve. Perhaps more importantly now that Democrats are controlling both Congress and the White House, there is a strong possibility that California may get its waiver for CO2 standards from the EPA. If that happens, Hyundai and everyone else will have to get well b