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Thursday, August 19, 2010
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Image: © 2010 Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai Debuts Their First Hybrid For North America

NEW YORK, U.S.A - The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid had its debut at the New York Auto Show earlier this year in March. The 2011 Sonata Hybrid is Hyundai's first hybrid vehicle to go on sale in the North American market, and the company is introducing their own unique drive system that they call parallel hybrid drive in the 2011 Sonata. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is also one of the first vehicles to be introduced with the LG Chem latest lithium polymer gel battery technology, which Hyundai says offers the same power performance as a lithium ion type, but gives a 20% reduction in battery size and reduced complexity in manufacture.

Hyundai's parallel hybrid drive system on the 2011 Sonata, can deliver a very high 62 mph (100 km/h) all-electric powered top speed before the engine needs to start, and this exceeds the competitor's all-electric top speed capability that are using a CVT transmission and planetary gear arrangement. Hyundai engineers have tackled hybrid drive without using a CVT transmission and planetary gear , and have installed their hybrid drive electric motor in a parallel with the gasoline engine using a traditional 6-speed automatic transmission for gear shifts. This allows the Sonata Hybrid to be driven with the engine and electric motor working separately of each other, or in combination when in parallel drive configuration.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata's hybrid drive system has a 169 hp (6000 rpm) 2.4-litre 16-valve 4 cylinder Theta II engine that delivers a maximum torque of 156 ft-lb, and this is coupled with a 30 kW (40.2 hp) and 151 ft-lb`max torque electric motor for hybrid power. Hyundai says that the combined hybrid maximum horsepower of the Sonata is 209 hp at 6000 rpm, and that the Sonata's hybrid powertrain delivers a best-in-class combined fuel economy of 39 U.S. mpg on the highway and 37 U.S. mpg in the city.

Hyundai's battery partner, LG Chem, supplies the lithium polymer battery pack for the Sonata Hybrid, and the battery is rated at 270 volts with 5.3 Ah of capacity. Hyundai says that the Sonata's battery pack weighs 95.9 pounds and is more compact than that found in the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Inside the Sonata Hybrid, the driver can monitor the functioning of the hybrid system on a 4.2 inch LCD screen, which displays driving mode, energy flow, fuel level, battery power/charge status, EV mode, and the average and instant mpg.

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