Hyundai Motor America, currently the leading fuel economy auto manufacturer in the US according to EPA ratings, plans to achieve a corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) rating of at least 50 (mpg) by 2025 for its lineup of passenger cars and light duty trucks. Since becoming the fuel economy leader in the 2008 model year (average 30.9 mpg US), Hyundai Motor America’ market share is up more than 50%, the company noted.
Current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations require automakers to achieve a CAFE rating of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Before those rules were enacted last year, Hyundai had already announced its own plan to reach 35 mpg by 2015.
Hyundai’s plan to achieve an average of 50 mpg or better encompasses a full line of products, from small cars to larger family haulers. It leverages Hyundai’s global Blue Drive strategy (earlier post), aligning R&D resources at its engineering centers in California, Michigan, Korea, India and Germany to develop more fuel-efficient vehicle technologies. Key enablers are improvements and innovation in powertrains including gasoline direct injection, turbocharging, electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, light-weight materials and design, and more.
The 2011 Sonata, which went on sale earlier this year, features a 2.4-liter Theta II GDI 4-cylinder as its base engine, offering up to 200 hp and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. (Earlier post.) By offering only 4-cylinder engines and through other weight optimization efforts, Hyundai engineers were able to reduce the weight of the Sonata by 130 pounds.
This fall, Hyundai will launch the 2.0T 4-cylinder turbo option for the 2011 Sonata and the company’s first hybrid in the United States. The Sonata Hybrid features a 2.4-liter Theta II 4-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an electric motor-boosted 6-speed automatic transmission. The Sonata Hybrid incorporates a lithium polymer battery.
Hyundai topped the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy report for the 2008 model year. The EPA 2009 Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends Report indicates that Hyundai has the highest 2008 model year laboratory 55/45 fuel economy at 30.9 mpg.
Forecasts show a 2009 model-year fuel economy rating of 30.1 mpg for passenger cars and light duty trucks; Hyundai is also the only automaker to top 30 mpg in the 2009 projections.
Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2009 Appendix A