Electric motor tweaks allow Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to go further as EV

Sections: Fuel Economy

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2014 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Press Photo

(Photo courtesy Hyundai)

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is getting tweaks to its electric motor for 2014 that will allow it to go further on electricity alone. Plus, it’s getting a few techy interior enhancements.

The press release from Hyundai said the use of a more powerful 35 kW electric motor and a 47 kW lithium polymer battery in the car’s hybrid drive system along with “an optimized hybrid operating strategy” allows the Sonata Hybrid to go further between fill-ups by allowing more use of its EV mode and improving energy capture during regenerative braking.

Quoth the press release:

Using a higher output 35 kW electric motor and the more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer battery pack introduced for the 2013 model year, the Hybrid Blue Drive powertrain maximizes electric-only driving. The improved operating system takes advantage of newly developed driving pattern detection and engine on/off optimization logic. The availability of additional battery energy helps save fuel by allowing greater flexibility in running the gasoline engine at optimum efficiency. Better kinetic energy recovery and increased charging efficiency allows the Sonata Hybrid in all-electric mode more often and for longer periods of time, increasing fuel economy.

The 2014 Sonata Hybrid utilizes the all-electric mode during optimal moments such as highway driving and saves the gasoline engine start-up for conditions that require a heavier dose of power. All of this translates to money saved for the driver.

Hyundai said its use of lithium polymer battery technology is due to the batteries’ balance between power delivery, energy density, and thermal stability.

“Thermal stability is critical to ensuring durability, effectively eliminating the need to replace the battery pack during the normal lifespan of the vehicle,” the release said. Nevertheless, the Sonata Hybrid comes with a lifetime battery warranty.

The improvements to the hybrid powertrain result in no gain in fuel efficiency, according to the release. The 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was rated at 38 MPG combined, according to the EPA, and the release said the 2014 Sonata Hybrid achieves the same figure.

Hyundai also mentioned that the Sonata Hybrid is getting a few techy improvements inside. LED dome lights will illuminate the interior now, and a touchscreen color audio head unit with HD radio receiver is now standard, according to the automaker. Finally, a rearview camera is now standard.

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $26,000, while the uplevel Sonata Hybrid Limited is priced at $30,750 before a mandatory $810 destination fee, Hyundai said.

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