Hyundai lanched the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle—Hyundai’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle—along with the hybrid version of the seventh-generation Sonata, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The PHEV is fitted with a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack—roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery—and is expected to travel up to 22 miles (35 km) on electric power alone. Recharging takes as little as two and a half hours with a Level 2 charger. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will go on sale in select markets later this year.
Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32% more powerful than the motor used the in regular Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher speeds. A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. Sonata PHEV’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower (115 kW) and 140 lb-ft (190 N·m) of torque; total system output is 202 horsepower (151 kW) at 6,000 rpm.
Sonata PHEV is expected to deliver 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on internal estimates. In charge sustaining mode, the Sonata PHEV is expected to return 38 mpg (6.19 l/100 km) in the city, 43 mpg (5.47 l/100 km) on the highway and 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km) combined based on internal testing. Recharge time ranges from two and a half hours at a 240V Level 2 charging station to five hours using a standard 120V outlet.
Sonata PHEV uses the same functional design changes as the Sonata Hybrid to improve its drag coefficient to a class-leading 0.24 as well as provide visual cues to distinguish the hybrid models from other Sonatas. Visual changes to the PHEV’s exterior include a charging port on the driver front fender, unique grille, front and rear bumpers, front fenders, front and rear lights, chrome side sill moldings, Hybrid badging and new wheels. A distinctive instrument cluster provides Plug-in Hybrid drivers with additional information about the PHEV system’s functions. A charge indicator is located on top of the dashboard to make it easy to see the state of charge from outside the vehicle.
Owners can manage and monitor the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle remotely via an exclusive Blue Link smartphone app. With the app, owners can access real-time data from their Sonata PHEV and perform specific commands like starting the engine and locking doors. Plus, users can search for points of interest using Google with voice or text and have the directions when they start their Sonata PHEV.
The most useful feature of the app is managing the car’s charging schedule. The owners are given vehicle charging options that they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via smartphone. Immediate charge is the simplest option, as charging begins as soon as the Sonata PHEV is plugged in.
Individuals that have different electric rates at various times may want to schedule the charge. Users can do that with the new app based on time and date.
Remote Control Services include: start or stop charging; set up charging schedule with days of the week and time; climate control and defroster. Connected Car Services include: vehicle diagnostics/status; existing battery level; real-time electric range; real-time fuel range; charge status; plug status (in/out); time left until fully charged; refresh to retrieve status; VIN (Vehicle Selection) base availability of PHEV app features.
2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid comes standard with seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display, and a rearview camera are also standard. Projector headlamps are standard while HID headlamps are available.
Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning are also available in this midsize sedan.
Sonata Plug-in Hybrid’s standard advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. This Lane Change Assist technology is a segment-exclusive active safety feature. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Departure Warning System uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning light on the dashboard illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.
Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another feature derived from the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the vehicle when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers utilize the active safety technology.
All 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrids come standard with iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks, SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include an 8.0-inch navigation system with downloadable apps, HD radio and Infinity premium audio system with next-generation Blue Link telematics.