BMW Group Australia will launch its eDrive hybrid program during 2016, welcoming the arrival of the BMW 330e Sedan and BMW X5 xDrive40e to its product portfolio from May. The introduction of an eDrive variant across BMW’s two highest selling model ranges underlines the brand’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of sustainability in the automotive industry through its EfficientDynamics engineering program.

Featuring plug-in hybrid technology transferred from the BMW i sub-brand, the BMW 330e Sedan and BMW X5 xDrive40e combine emission-free driving on electric power alone, with the range and performance offered by a petrol engine. The intelligently controlled interaction between the combustion engine and electric motor generate strong acceleration, while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Brake energy regeneration ensures that energy released when braking or slowing down while operating is saved in the lithium-ion high-performance battery, where it’s available at any time to increase the overall performance.

Both vehicles are capable of completing urban commutes exclusively via electric power, with the BMW 330e Sedan possessing a range of 37km, while the BMW X5 xDrive40e can travel up to 31km while generating zero local emissions. Chief Executive Officer of BMW Group Australia, Marc Werner, confirmed the arrival of the plug-in hybrid brand highlights the brand’s future-orientated approach.

“BMW Group been very active in advocating sustainable mobility,” Werner said. “Our new eDrive models signal a real expansion of this area in Australia and reinforce our commitment to alternative fuel vehicles.”

Delivering the versatility and luxurious ambience of BMW X models, along with the superb traction provided by BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system, the X5 xDrive40e adds another string to its bow in outstanding efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint. The drive system of the BMW X5 xDrive40e comprises a four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and a synchronous electric motor integrated with the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Fuelled by a 9kWh lithium ion battery, the electric motor can be topped up with mains electricity from any standard domestic power socket, or more quickly from the BMW i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations.

Housed underneath the luggage compartment floor, storage capacity is largely undiminished compared to a regular BMW X5, with the xDrive40e capable of stowing 500 to 1,720 litres. The electric motor has an output of 83kW and an instantly available 250Nm of torque, while the 2.0 litre petrol engine delivers maximum power of 180kW and 350Nm of torque.  Operating in concert, the BMW TwinPower Turbo and eDrive technologies produce 230kW and 450Nm, powering the BMW X5 xDrive40e from 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds, while returning a combined fuel consumption figure of 3.3l/100km and carbon emissions figure of 77g/km.

When the drivetrain is operating in combined petrol engine and electric motor mode, the maximum power and torque output does not equate to the sum of each of the outputs individual due to the complex management of power flow from both sources. The BMW 330e Sedan brings together the unmistakable dynamics expected of the iconic sports sedan with exceptionally low fuel consumption. The plug-in hybrid system consists of an electric motor producing 65kW and a peak torque of 250Nm and a four-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo combustion engine, which develops 135kW and 290Nm of torque.

Producing 185kW and 420Nm when drawing power from both traditional and electric sources, the BMW 330e Sedan accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds, consumes only 2.1l/100km on a combined fuel cycle and emits just 49g/km. Maintaining the dynamic handling typical of the BMW 3 Series, the intelligent positioning of the eDrive system’s components allows finely balanced weight distribution, split 50:50 over the front and rear axle.

The 7.6kWh lithium-ion cell battery is integrated in a compartment under the boot, ensuring use of the 40:20:40 split through-loading system is unrestricted and storage capacity stands at 370 litres. All maintenance requirements for the BMW 330e Sedan and BMW X5 xDrive40e are controlled by the Condition Based Servicing (CBS) system. With CBS, sensors and advanced algorithms monitor and calculate the conditions in which a vehicle is used, including mileage, time elapsed since its last service, fuel consumption and how a vehicle is driven.

Based on the information captured, maintenance requirements are determined, identifying whether an annual vehicle inspection or oil service is due. Selected BMW service and maintenance costs can be covered by a single, one-off advance payment with BMW Service Inclusive (BSI), which is available in two packages: Basic or Plus.

Kia Motors unveiled the all-new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) at the Chicago Auto Show. Kia’s first PHEV joined two other fuel-efficient additions to the brand’s growing line-up of eco-friendly vehicles, including the all-new 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) and all-new 2017 Optima Hybrid (HEV), all three of which are being introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand.

A host of new technologies and features in the Kia Optima PHEV, including a more powerful hybrid engine, a smarter and more robust telematics system, exterior design enhancements, and greater interior refinement, all combine to deliver a superior hybrid drive experience.

“As part of our bold initiative to increase fuel efficiency by 25 per cent across the entire Kia model line-up by 2020, a plug-in hybrid was a critical addition to our offering. The Optima HEV adds hybrid efficiency to the standout styling and vehicle dynamics of our all-new Optima, and the PHEV takes things one step further with all-electric range that is among the best in the segment,” said Orth Hedrick, vice-president, product planning, Kia Motors America (KMA). “All three of the vehicles being introduced here at the Chicago Auto Show are emblematic of Kia’s commitment to sustainability and our philosophy that you shouldn’t have to accept compromises when making a green choice.”

The all-new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid is crafted with many of the same luxurious appointments of its petrol-powered sibling, along with numerous Hybrid-exclusive touches, including a distinctive instrument cluster and unique exterior design elements and specially designed alloy wheels. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid, available in one trim, EX, will be built at Hwasung, South Korea, and is expected to go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

High-efficiency hybrid technology

The all-new 2017 Optima PHEV was engineered with a dual focus on efficiency and driving dynamics. Utilizing Kia’s highly efficient 2.0-litre “Nu” four-cylinder GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, power output is targeted for a class-leading 113kW @ 6,000 rpm.

Electric power is produced by a transmission-mounted 50 kW motor, which is 42 per cent more powerful than in the previous Optima Hybrid to allow for greater all-electric capability. This hybrid system provides a fast and seamless transition from EV to petrol to hybrid modes, as well as more refined shift quality. Overall engine efficiency is also improved by the introduction of a High Voltage Electric Oil Pump, replacing the combination mechanical oil pump and low voltage electric pump found in the outgoing Optima Hybrid. Transmission cooling changes from natural air to water.

These engineering enhancements yield an expected engine efficiency improvement of more than 20 per cent. With an estimated 600 miles of total driving range, the Optima PHEV’s next-generation battery system features a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which produces roughly 60 per cent more energy output than the battery pack found in the outgoing Optima’s hybrid system, and is estimated to achieve 45 kilometres in full EV mode, placing the Optima PHEV among the segment leaders in all-electric range.

To increase available cargo capacity in the trunk, the new battery pack is hidden behind the rear seat and tire well, giving Optima PHEV one of the largest cargo areas among all midsize PHEVs. This thoughtful change also provides the space needed to offer 60/40 split-folding rear seats, which significantly increases the vehicle’s utility. Additional power to the battery system is generated from the vehicle’s improved Regenerative Braking System, which maximizes regenerative torque through refined cooperative control between the hybrid control unit and the brake actuation unit, resulting in a 10 per cent increase in regenerative energy.

The Optima PHEV is equipped with a single charging port conveniently located in the driver’s side front fender. A full charge can be achieved in less-than three hours via a 240V (Level 2) charger, and less-than nine hours via a 120V (Level 1) charger.

The all-new Optima PHEV provides its driver with options to reserve electric range via a plug-in hybrid mode select system. Exclusive to the PHEV variant of the all-new Optima, the system includes an all-Electric Mode (EV), which is suitable for short-range city driving, Hybrid Mode (HEV) for highway driving, and Charging Mode, which increases energy direction to the battery while driving at higher speeds. The energy produced while in Charging Mode can then be utilized in EV mode, extending the convenience of full electric power without stopping to charge.

All-new Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System) features Kia’s first application of Coasting Guide. This feature aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake via an icon in the Instrument Panel that blinks for four-seconds and sounds a one-time audible alert.

Aerodynamic form and function

Although the new PHEV boasts the same bold styling as the redesigned Optima, it offers distinctive design features and exterior elements that differentiate it from the petrol-powered models in the Optima range, while also achieving the segment’s lowest coefficient of drag, tied with the Tesla Model S at 0.24 Cd. Featuring an active grille, which automatically opens and closes at high and low speeds, the PHEV improves aerodynamics while optimizing engine bay cooling. Numerous other styling differences include a model-specific front air curtain, a beveled rear bumper, a rear diffuser designed to streamline airflow by shrouding the exhaust tip, and an aerodynamic alloy-wheel design.

These are complemented by modern LED lighting, chrome side sill molding, and ‘Eco Plug-In’ badging. Similar to the petrol-powered Optima, the PHEV’s wheelbase has been lengthened by 0.4 inches (now 110 inches) over the previous generation Optima, and overall length has increased 0.4 inches to 191.1 inches.

Intelligent technology

The new Optima Plug-In Hybrid makes intelligent use of technology to deliver a host of driver assistance systems and convenience features. Like the HEV, the PHEV offers Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which, under appropriate conditions, will bring the vehicle to a complete stop to potentially avoid a collision or reduce damage. Other key driver assistance systems include Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Front Collision Warning System (FCWS)4.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has the richest set of UVO telematics in any vehicle Kia has ever produced. With more than 30 features, the PHEV encompasses technology from Kia’s flagship telematics vehicles, the K900 luxury sedan and Soul EV, and adds Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay.

UVO EV Services includes LTE wireless connectivity that enables direct communication to the vehicle for features such as remote start/stop, remote preconditioning of cabin temperature, and remote lock/unlock via the UVO app. Included in the app is a full suite of My Car Zone features, which includes curfew and speed alerts and Geofence settings, as well as Local Search powered by Google®, which allows users to easily search for POIs (Points of Interest).

Exclusive EV features for charging convenience include the ability to locate charging stations, an option to check your vehicle’s charge status, as well as scheduling charge events. Adding hands-free connectivity is Google® Voice Recognition Local Search, which can search for POIs utilizing voice recognition technology. Additionally, within the Kia App Store, apps can be downloaded to the head-unit using the PHEV’s Wi-Fi capability.

Available at no cost for the first three years of ownership with no subscription necessary, UVO EV Services utilizes an embedded connectivity solution powered by the Verizon® network and the UVO smartphone app to provide Optima Plug-In Hybrid owners with an innovative, real-time, in-vehicle connectivity experience. Drivers are treated to an outstanding audio experience with the available Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic™ Premium Surround Sound Audio System, which includes 10 speakers, Clari-Fi™ technology and an upgraded 630-watt digital amplifier.

Introduced in the 2016 Sorento, Clari-Fi is a patented music restoration technology that rebuilds audio signals that are lost in the digital compression process.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has announced body, chassis and powertrain enhancements, along with front, rear and interior styling changes, for its newly revised 2016 Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid SUV. The upgrades are in-line with the substantial mid-life changes to Mitsubishi’s recently released 2016 Outlander, which delivered a smoother, more responsive on-road performance with improvements to quietness, steering performance, ride and handling. Further to this, changes to the 2016 Outlander PHEV are designed to deliver better hybrid fuel efficiency and acceleration feel and throttle response, while cosmetic improvements – including design features unique to PHEV – give Mitsubishi’s flagship electric vehicle a more upmarket, high-grade appearance inside and out.

New active safety features – such as new Multi-around View Monitor – which help prevent low-speed parking and traffic accidents will also be introduced with the 2016 Outlander PHEV range. The 2016 upgrades have been announced for the Japanese domestic market, where the updated Outlander PHEV makes its global market debut in July.

Exterior Design

Just like the 2016 Outlander, the new plug-in hybrid version of Outlander features Mitsubishi’s striking “dynamic shield” front design concept. However, the PHEV model is distinguished by bumper extensions, side garnish and exterior decoration designed to evoke a high-quality, sporty impression. The exterior design is enhanced with a new 18-inch alloy wheel exclusive the PHEV models, with two-tone machined and black gloss finishes. The Outlander PHEV exterior colour range has been expanded with new colours including Ruby Black Pearl and Quartz Brown metallic.

Ruby Black Pearl is unique to PHEV models, and features a black pearl paint with contrasting ruby red flecks. The new colours join the existing Japanese domestic colour line-up of:

  • Black Mica
  • Titanium Grey Metallic
  • White Pearl
  • Red Metallic

Interior Design

Outlander PHEV’s 2016 interior is styled to create a luxurious and high-quality cabin space. The redesigned seats feature new trim with accent stitching, which is repeated in the padded door trim inserts. The seats use styled padding and trim lines which follow the shape of the occupant’s body to provide superior fit and comfort for front and rear passengers. The premium quality of the interior is reinforced in the all-new four-spoke steering wheel design, which is trimmed with seamless, fine-quality leather for a comfortable grip, and silver steering-wheel mounted controls with a chrome finish.

The instrument cluster is trimmed with accent stitching, while the newly designed large centre console uses a finish to reflect the elegance of Japanese black lacquer used in traditional Japanese craftwork. Black stream patterns and lustrous accents feature in the dashboard and door trim ornament panels. A power-adjusted driver’s seat becomes standard on all trim levels, and most variants gain the heated steering wheel function.

On-Road Performance

In addition to 2016 Outlander general improvements to NVH, steering, ride and handling, Mitsubishi Motors has increased the fuel efficiency of Outlander’s plug-in hybrid system by reducing engine friction and overall system optimisation. This represents improved hybrid fuel efficiency of 8 per cent with an official figure of 20.2km/l (JC08 mode). Meanwhile, improvements to electric motor efficiency have extended the 2016 Outlander PHEV’s all-electric range by 0.6km to 60.8km based on JC08 mode. Launch feel or acceleration from a standing start and overall throttle response has improved with revisions to the plug-in hybrid EV and motor control systems.

The 2016 model introduces new safety technology features, including Unintentional Move Off Control system and Multi-around View Monitor, which gives the driver a bird’s-eye view of the vehicle to assist with parking or negotiating tight spaces. Unintentional Move Off Control system mitigates impact damage by controlling speed in reverse or forward gear when a driver presses the accelerator by mistake and inadvertently moves toward another vehicle or obstacle. This feature is a factory option on some models. The 2016 Outlander PHEV will be introduced to the Japanese domestic market on 9 July and rolled out progressively to new and existing markets across the globe.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia will announce details of local specification and availability closer to its local launch.

The first plug-in hybrid production car from the BMW core brand is a Sports Activity Vehicle. Permanent all-wheel drive and the BMW EfficientDynamics eDrive technology endow the BMW X5 xDrive40e with sensational sportiness and supreme poise on the one hand and outstanding efficiency on the other. With a total system output of 230 kW/313 hp generated by a four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and a synchronous electric motor, the BMW X5 xDrive40e achieves a combined fuel consumption of 3.4 – 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres (83.1 – 85.6 mpg imp) and a combined electricity consumption of 15.4 – 15.3 kWh over the same distance. CO2 emissions come in at 78 – 77 grams per kilometre (figures according to EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, may vary depending on the tyre format specified). The use of BMW eDrive technology for exceptionally efficient performance as well as all-electric mobility with zero tailpipe emissions as and when required ushers in a whole new form of commanding driving experience in a sports activity vehicle. At the same time, the BMW X5 xDrive40e reaps the benefits of the technology and know-how transferred from the debut of the BMW i cars. The BMW i8 blazes a trail for sustainable driving pleasure with plug-in hybrid drive power, which can now also be enjoyed for the first time in a model from the BMW core brand.

The energy for the electric motor integrated in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission is drawn from a lithium-ion battery, which also supplies power to the low-voltage battery for the 12V electrical system aboard the BMW X5 xDrive40e via a voltage transformer. It can be recharged by connecting to any standard domestic power socket or a BMW i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations. To save space the high-voltage battery is housed underneath the luggage compartment floor, where it is also particularly well protected in the event of a crash. With 500 – 1,720 litres of luggage space, a three-part folding rear backrest and a luxuriously designed interior, the BMW X5 xDrive40e also boasts the high versatility associated with a large sports activity vehicle but blended with an exclusive ambience. The actual driving experience is likewise characterised by versatile and effortless performance. The intelligent hybrid powertrain control ensures that the engine and the electric motor act in unison in a way that optimises efficiency while also catering perfectly to the driver’s wishes. The eDrive button on the centre console allows the driver to adjust the hybrid drive’s operating mode. In the AUTO eDrive basic setting, the engine’s power is boosted to noticeable effect when accelerating or during quick bursts of speed by the electric drive, whose full torque of 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft) is on tap from standstill for instantaneous power delivery. The BMW X5 xDrive40e completes the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds.

Alternatively, the MAX eDrive mode can be engaged, enabling the BMW X5 xDrive40e to run purely on electric power – when driving in urban traffic for instance – resulting in zero local emissions. When the high-voltage battery is fully charged, the vehicle has a range of up to 31 kilometres (approx. 19 miles) in the all-electric drive mode with a limited maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). The SAVE Battery mode can also be activated at the touch of a button, causing the high-voltage battery’s state of charge to be maintained or allowing energy to be accumulated again, e.g. by means of recuperation, if capacity is low. In this way, electrical energy can be deliberately conserved for all-electric driving later in the journey. Regardless of the setting chosen with the eDrive button, the power stemming from both drive sources is permanently transmitted to the road via the intelligent all-wheel-drive system, BMW xDrive. The various vehicle set-ups that can be selected with the Driving Experience Control switch, COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO, are also available in all drive modes.

All of the driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive offered as standard or as optional extras for the BMW X5 are also available to provide enhanced driving pleasure in the model variant with eDrive technology. An intelligent energy management function is also offered as a special model-specific feature that can be used in conjunction with the Navigation system Professional which is fitted as standard in the BMW X5 xDrive40e. Whenever route guidance is active, data on the route profile is factored into powertrain control along with real-time traffic information. When driving medium to long distances, the system can therefore ensure it is possible to drive purely on electric power on urban sections by using Brake Energy Regeneration and managing the high-voltage battery’s energy reserves in a targeted and efficient manner. The hybrid-specific version of the BMW Remote app makes it possible to check the high-voltage battery’s state of charge, locate public charging stations or call up efficiency evaluations for the BMW X5 xDrive40e on a smartphone. The auxiliary heating and ventilation functions can also be activated remotely. The BMW i Wallbox Pure and BMW i Wallbox Pro, including installation service, are available for home charging as part of the BMW 360° ELECTRIC concept, offering customers a particularly fast and convenient means of recharging the high-voltage battery while parked. Model-specific assistance services are also available. The ChargeNow service provides cash-free access to an extensive partner network of charging stations and billing of the charging costs with the ChargeNow card. The mobility service ParkNow Longterm, meanwhile, makes it easier to find a parking space or locate and book a parking spot with charging facilities.

The comprehensive standard specification of the BMW X5 on the plug-in hybrid model is extended to include the Navigation system Professional as well as an auxiliary heating and ventilation system. This is powered by electricity from the high-voltage battery or from the mains supply while charging. The BMW X5 xDrive40e additionally comes equipped as standard with the Adaptive Suspension Package Comfort including rear air suspension and Dynamic Damper Control. Beyond this, practically all the optional extras offered for the BMW X5 can also be specified for the plug-in hybrid model. The Design Pure Experience and Pure Excellence packages for the exterior and interior are also available for the BMW X5 xDrive40e, as are the M Sport package and the bespoke features from BMW Individual.

Hyundai Motor showcased a wide range of innovative fuel efficiency and connectivity technologies at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. While two fuel efficiency concepts underline Hyundai’s capabilities in advanced drivetrain technologies, the connectivity cockpit concept and wearables on display grant a view of how controlling and interacting with Hyundai vehicles could look in the future. Based on the All-New Tucson platform, the 48V Hybrid technology is a smart and cost efficient way to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions significantly. Compared to a full hybrid system, the 48V system delivers similar efficiency, for only a quarter of the cost and is just another example of Hyundai’s engineering capabilities under the premise of ‘New Thinking, New Possibilities’. Based on a 2.0-litre diesel model with 100kW and six-speed manual transmission, the show car promises to boost power by 10 %, while emitting only 109g/km CO2 emissions. The 48V Hybrid Concept delivers a lively performance as the combined power pack (100kW petrol engine plus a 10kW electric motor) generates 110kW and 413Nm of torque. 

Especially suited to fitment in larger cars and SUVs, the show car’s 48V Hybrid technology comprises a Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) – an electric motor replacing the conventional starter - an inverter and a low voltage DC/DC converter. The HSG supports the diesel engine with its additional output, enables the ISG to restart the engine with almost no noise or vibration and acts as a generator during deceleration, recharging the 48-volt lithium-ion battery. The new hybrid system adds a modest 20kg to the vehicle weight.

Hyundai’s concept of a plug-in-hybrid vehicle (PHEV), also based on the All-New Tucson platform, is equipped with a 1.7-litre diesel engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, both available in the All-New Tucson line-up. The engine generates 85kW and is accompanied by an 85kW electric motor and a 10.7kWh lithium-ion polymer battery, which enables the car to drive in pure-electric mode for more than 50km. The combined engine has a maximum combined power of 135kW and delivers an impressive 474Nm torque. Hyundai engineers estimate CO2 emissions of less than 48 g/km while the vehicle’s performance capabilities could be increased significantly. The electric motor is placed at the rear of the car and drives the rear axle, whereas the diesel engine drives the front axle. This setup enables the car to switch between rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive depending on the driving situation. For greater driver engagement and choice, the PHEV concept is equipped with a 4-mode drive selection. The ‘Auto’ mode operates all systems for highest fuel efficiency. The ‘Zero Emission Vehicle’ (ZEV) mode uses only the electric motor - if the battery charge level is sufficient.

This mode is particularly useful when leaving the house quietly in the morning or when driving in low-speed city traffic. In ‘4WD’ mode both engines operate to enable all-wheel drive functionality, while in ‘Sport’ the performance characteristics of both engines are prioritised. Hyundai is continually exploring new ways to improve the vehicle ownership experience for its customers. The Connectivity Cockpit Concept holds a collection of new advanced technologies including wearable devices, integration of car generated data, rear seat child care and 3D-gesture controls. These assets offer an insight to Hyundai’s new ways of thinking to provide customers with value beyond expectations, and setting out ways they could control and interact with its vehicles in the future. A wearable device like a smartwatch paired with the in-car-system can monitor the driver’s status (heart rate and alertness), recommending rest periods to promote safe driving. It can also in form the driver about blind-spots, alert him or her to appropriate following distances, and provide navigation-details.

Also on display is Hyundai’s content connectivity feature, which provides a calendar ‘life-log’ of daily driving activities, delivering integrated information from vehicle, cloud, tablet, smartphone and wearable devices. It can display POI suggestions by ranking driver preferences, while also listing petrol stations near the user’s route. The rear seat child care function uses innovative tablet features to monitor passengers and children via a mini-camera and the head unit screen on the center stack. The system also has tablet-based ‘co-pilot/navigator’ controls, which allow a passenger to interact with vehicle infotainment and comfort features, such as air-conditioning, while the driver’s eyes remain on the road. A fourth area of focus for the Geneva display is the company’s 3D hand-gesture controls, showcased in the Connectivity Cockpit Concept. The innovative system employs infrared and camera sensors to recognise driver’s hand commands to select navigation, infotainment, audio, air conditioning and even smartphone connectivity functions. While driving, only basic commands will be available, whereas when at standstill and neutral mode, the full range of functions will be accessible. This intuitive gesture interface provides the driver with a host of controls, while keeping his or her eyes on the road, and demonstrates clearly Hyundai’s future vision for human/machine interface.

Hyundai launched its first plug-in hybrid vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is expected to travel up to 35 kilometres on electric power and can recharge in 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.

Plug-In Powertrain

Although the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is very technologically advanced, it will behave much like the regular Sonata Hybrid from the driver’s seat. A 9.8kWh lithium polymer battery pack, roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, is expected to give Sonata Plug-in Hybrid an all-electric range of up to 35 kilometres, farther than any other midsize PHEV sedan.

Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50kW electric motor is 32 percent more powerful than the motor used the in regular Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher speeds. A 2.0-litre 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 115kW and 190Nm of torque and the total system output is 150kW 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 6.2 L/100km in the city, 5.5 L/100km on the highway and 5.9 L/100km 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.

Aerodynamic Exterior

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 mouldings, 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.

Sonata Hybrid will offer two exclusive exterior paint options: Graphite Blue Pearl and Seaport Mist. Interior color choices include gray and beige in cloth or leather seating configurations and an all-new Blue Pearl option for leather seats. Sonata Hybrids equipped with Blue Pearl leather seats will include contrast stitching and trim accent pieces.

Blue Link App

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. For example, charging could be set to start at 10pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a weekly basis.

Remote Control Services:

  • -Start or stop charging
  • -Set up charging schedule with days of the week and time
  • -Climate control and defroster

Connected Car Services:

  • -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

Safety 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 utilise the active safety technology.

Convenient Technology

The 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid delivers the convenient technology one would expect in a luxury vehicle in an incredibly efficient mid-size hybrid sedan. Hyundai’s hands-free Smart Trunk is standard on the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. An electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, a driver memory seat, heated steering wheel, LED interior lights, ventilated front seats, power front seats with 4-way adjustable driver lumbar and Smart Cruise Control featuring full stop capability are all available on Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

Multimedia

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.

Hyundai’s 8.0-inch navigation system offers an enhanced display with improved touch sensitivity, a map and music split screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets 1-6. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer. Rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on a sports broadcast. SiriusXM Travel Link® provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times. All 2016 Sonata Hybrids equipped with navigation will also support Pandora® and SoundHound applications as well as “Eyes Free” Siri integration, which allows drivers to perform a variety of functions without taking their eyes off the road. Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto will take smartphone integration to the next level on the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid later this year.