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2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid coming to market with EPA-estimated 27-mile electric range; starts at $34,600

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is arriving in select dealerships in 10 states this week with an EPA-estimated 27-mile (43.5-kilometer) All-Electric Range (AER). At the Sonata PHEV’s launch in January, Hyundai had estimated a 22-mile AER (earlier post), which it later bumped up to around 24 miles (earlier post).

The 2016 Sonata Plug-in is EPA-rated at 99 MPGe combined, with 34 kWh/100 miles, and 40 mpg combined for charge sustaining (conventional hybrid) operation. Pricing (without factoring in incentives) starts at $34,600 for the base model and $38,600 for the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Limited model.


Sonata Plug-in Hybrid’s 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery system is roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery. The larger battery system can be charged via an external electric power source using either a Level-One 120V power outlet in less than nine hours or a Level-Two 240V charging station in under three hours.

A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with a 50 kW 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 and the total system output is 202 horsepower (151 kW) at 6,000 rpm. The power output from the electric motor (50 kW) is 32% more powerful than the electric motor applied on the Sonata Hybrid (38 kW) and allows for EV operation at higher engine load and speeds.

A 0.24 coefficient of drag ties with the Tesla Model S.

Advanced safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beam Assist and rear parking sensors are equipped on the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Limited. Additional convenient technology is available such as electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold; driver memory seat; heated steering wheel; ventilated front seats; power front seats with 4-way adjustable driver lumbar; and Smart Cruise Control featuring full stop capability.

Owners can manage and monitor the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle remotely via an exclusive Blue Link smartphone app that includes a three-year complimentary trial to Blue Link Connected Care with Charge Management. With the app, owners are given vehicle charging options they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via smartphone. For example, users have the option to manage the car’s charging schedule by setting a specific date and time to take advantage of off-peak electric rates.

Charge management services include:

  • Plug and Charge status
  • Time left until fully charged
  • Start or stop charging
  • Set up charging schedule with days of the week and time
  • Existing battery level
  • Real-time electric and fuel range
  • Vehicle diagnostics/status

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will be available in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Sonata Plug-in Hybrid buyers will be eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit. Depending on the particular state, additional local incentives such as high-occupancy vehicle lane exemptions, financial incentives or utility rate reductions may be available.



This is getting very close to 100 mpge for a common sense well designed mid-size car at close to $30K after hand outs in many places.

And excellent first interim step to reduce liquid fuel consumption, GHG and pollution, at least until such time as affordable extended range BEVs and FCEVs become common places.


Very useful AER.


The perhaps biggest advantage PHEVs offer - over BEVs and FCEVs - is to complement regional utility grids and affordably match to rooftop PV solar. BEV battery packs at 3x to 17x larger capacity drain grids more than complement them. Rooftop PV arrays also larger and more expensive to arrange than the the smaller PHEV packs. I could put it in fewer words, but why this isn't considered plainly logical here is utterly baffling.


Looks like the plan is to work toward a full blown EV piecemeal over time by building fuel mileage compliance cars.


@Sirkulat - The size of a BEV battery has almost no relationship to the amount of power drawn from the grid or rooftop solar.

The amount you have to charge any BEV or PHEV is related to the number of miles driven each day. For the typical 20 mile commute, a BEV or PHEV will leave home fully charged in the morning and return with 6 kW less than when it left. That's the amount that needs to be recharged daily. About 300 W per mile = 6,000 W per day.

If you have a longer commute or other trips, you'll need to charge more. The only time your PHEV will require less charge than your BEV is if you drive further than your battery capacity will permit, and start burning gas instead. Most people don't want this to be a daily occurrence, which is why Chevrolet upgraded the Volt battery to provide ~50 miles of range instead of ~35. Except for long distance trips, or a super busy day driving all over town, the Volt is an electric car. With the capability to drive anywhere on a moment's notice (and a tankful of gas).

BEVs do not "drain grids more than complement them." It's all just a matter of how much you drive.



And, if you drive the Volt less than 50 miles a day, all that extra weight and complication of the ICE gets you is psychological insurance, contaminated gasoline, and less battery range. Might as well buy a used Leaf, a BEV, if you are sound of mind and all you need is 50 miles range(ha).


Cars mean freedom, having to plan your range is not.


That's true, Lad. Some people can get by with an iMiEV.

Whether you rent or use an car share for longer trips, or your own plug-in hybrid, seems to me a matter of personal preference.

Curb weight on a 2016 Chevy Volt is 3,543 lbs
Curb weight on a 2015 Nissan Leaf is 3,354 lbs

So yes, you're dragging around another 190 lbs but the cost of that is fairly small, about 7% efficiency:

Volt is 106 MPGe
Leaf is 114 MPGe

We drive all BEVs in our household, but I think the PHEV offers a very good interim step to the 200+ mile BEV future (with widespread quick charge network).


With one possible exception (TESLA S-90) driving limited range BEVs in our cold area is currently out of the question.

Yes, 100 mpge PHEVs are a good interim solution put you (almost) need home charging facilities to reduce ops cost, otherwise you would be on gas most of the time @ under 40 mpg?

The new Prius 2016 @ 55+ mpg is also another short term solution to reduce fuel consumption, GHG and pollution.

Nick Lyons

Nice car. Sadly, an Accord LX (or EX), by comparison, would have a lower lifetime cost for us, even including fuel costs (we drive mostly highway miles). This would have been an attractive option for me back in the day when I was commuting five days/week and paying a lot of income taxes.


"EPA-estimated 27-mile (43.5-kilometer) All-Electric Range (AER)" is incorrect. It is actually 0 to 27 miles.

The electric motor is 50kW, which is less than the PiP & a lot less than the Volt.
With only 50kW of electric power in a mid-sized sedan, the gasoline engine is likely to to start up during acceleration. Mainstream Hyundai customers might not mind if they can drive most of their commute charging at home & at work.

It will be interesting to see how sales of the Sonata PHEV compare with the Volt EREV. Will the 5 seat mid size Sonata sedan with 0-27 miles electric range win more customers than the 4.5 seat compact Volt coupe hatchback with 53 miles?

Also, with no 2016 PiP, will Hyundai win over existing Prius owners?

Nick Lyons

@chip:IMHO Volt is too small--rear legroom is inadequate. Sonata will work for more families as a road trip car, not just commuter. I would love tp see the Voltec powertrain in a CUV of some sort.


Is it reasonable to project that this car will have a longer service life than its ICE brother?

I've noticed many high mileage prius's being sold at premium prices and I presume they are assumed to have longer lives.


Correct assumption Calgarygary. Our Toyotas keep going strong and trouble free for 15+ years.


@ECarInsider, "The size of a BEV battery has 'almost' no relationship to the amount of power drawn from the grid or rooftop solar. The amount to charge an EV is related to miles driven daily. For a 20-mile commute, a BEV or PHEV leaves fully charged and returns with 6kW less; about 300W per mile, 6,000W. BEVs do not drain grids more than complement them. It's all just a matter of how much you drive."

The more important question is related to whether modern motorized society can and therefore should continue driving as much as we do, and increasing, or plan to 'somehow' reduce driving overall.

The limited electric driving range of smaller PHEV battery packs is an incentive to conserve energy by driving less and more closely monitor household energy consumption. As for rooftop PV solar, obviously, the smaller PHEV pack reduces the size and cost of the array and components. This basic backup household power system should complement regional utility grids and may only be possible with smaller PHEV battery packs. Households with 85kwh Teslas will always keep them recharged and use electricity with less sense of the need to conserve energy. My argument favoring PHEVs is the bigger picture obvious to me. Don't forget to watch Minority Report tonight on Fox.
Self-driving cars, as seen on TV!

Dr. Strange Love

This is not a winner. Instead, buy a fully loaded standard 4cyl accord, camry, sonata, whatever and you will be "way ...." ahead.

EE Econ 101

If it achieved +50mpg combined not considering the 20+ all electric, then it might be worth something.


Electric Vehicle battery packs offer households the means to survive emergency grid failure, Strangelove. PHEVs are less dependent on grids for recharging and offer 'portable' power with an effective mileage rated about 100mpg. Winners own EVs.


Going from 20-24 mpg ICEVs to 100+ pmge PHEVs could reduce liquid fuel consumption, GHG and pollution quickly enough, for an interim solution with a lot less batteries, if you are equipped with home charging facilities.

The extra $10K initial cost could be offset by: purchase subsidy ($4K) + lower yearly registration fees (10 x $100 = $1K) + an interest free loan for 10 years (10 x $500 = $5K) equivalent to lower on-going fuel cost.

People without home charging facilities will have to buy (more expensive) extended range BEVs or FCEVs or have to do with short range BEVs and charge more often(1X or 2X daily) at public charging stations. .

Dr. Strange Love

Sirkulat. I am Ok with the PHEV design model. For me, this particular application is not a optimal choice based purely on convenience. Stated 27 mpg all electric is an inconvenience.

Please give me the same model in an HEV setup exclusively that achieves +50 mpg combined at a $10K discount. Then, it becomes a winner.


The plug-in battery pack is 9.8kwh and costs $4000. The standard hybrid gets 40mpg. The plug-in 'combined' is an effective 100mpg, depending on length of daily drive; drive under 27 miles daily, recharge at night, effective gas mileage I suppose would increase much more than 100mpg. PHEV technology certainly reduces fuel consumption enough to meet goals. Why they can't be more affordable, you got me. Maybe the car companies shouldn't spend so much on self-driving autonomous tech?

Dr. Strange Love

A fish chases a shiny lure. Gadgets sell cars. It's a shame that the vehicles engineers are not doing what they are supposed to do.

I am going back into my closet. That is where my wife says I can watch television.

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