To meet this new goal, Hyundai plans to leverage the company’s global Blue Drive strategy, aligning R&D resources at its engineering centers in California, Michigan, Korea, India and Germany to develop more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies. Key enablers will include improvements in powertrains, turbocharging, electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, light-weight materials and design.
“We’re committed to setting the pace in this industry on fuel economy, and we’re inspired by the possibilities that our advanced Blue Drive technologies afford,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. “Getting to 50 mpg and beyond seems like a huge leap, but by making this commitment and aligning our R&D initiatives now, we know we can get there.”
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations require automakers to achieve a CAFE rating of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Hyundai’s 2011 Sonata — the first mid-size family sedan to offer only 4-cylinder engines. — achieves an EPA highway rating of 35 mpg, and leads in power output through the use of advanced gasoline direct injection (GDI), says the car maker.
Hyundai expects to introduce a hybrid version of the Sonata this fall, which is its first hybrid in the U.S., reports the New York Times.
Krafcik said in the article that Hyundai expects to use technologies available today with modifications to minimize fuel consumption. The car maker plans to have a 2025 lineup that includes 15 to 20 percent hybrids or hybrid plug-ins and 5 percent powered by fuel cells or batteries.
Hyundai already is a leader in fuel economy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s economy report for the 2008 model year. The EPA 2009 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report shows that Hyundai has the highest 2008 model year laboratory 55/45 fuel economy at 30.9 mpg. Honda follows at 30.1 mpg. All three U.S. car makers average about 24 mpg — Ford at 24.5 mpg, GM at 24.4 mpg, and Chrysler at 24.2 mpg.
EPA forecasts show a 2009 model-year fuel economy rating of 30.1 mpg (PDF) for passenger cars and light duty trucks with Hyundai as the only automaker to top 30 mpg in the 2009 projections.