While the rest of the auto manufacturers were sweating it out with their hybrid car competition, Hyundai maintained a low profile. But now seems to be the right time for the Korean car manufacturer to join the race. Hyundai is all set to unveil its new Sonata hybrid during the upcoming New York Auto Show which is scheduled in April. Soon after this Hyundai hopes to launch its own plug-in hybrid some time in 2013.
The hybrid Sonata is equipped with a 2.4-liter engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission coupled with a 30kW electric motor and a 1.4kWh battery pack. The battery pack will use lithium-polymer batteries rather than the NiMH batteries used by the other hybrids in its class. The polymer batteries are said to be more durable and cheaper to manufacture.
The Sonata hybrid will run on a parallel hybrid system. An electric motor and gas-burning engine will work in concert to increase fuel economy. It will be the first mass-produced vehicle to feature a lithium-ion battery under its hood.
Indian customers have still not warmed up to the concept of hybrid cars. One among the many reasons is that they are really expensive and so far the government has not done anything to bring relaxation on import duties.
Honda cars have a fan following in India but still when Honda launched its hybrid Civic in India in June 2008; it could not manage to get a warm response, mainly because of the price factor. But still, after the launch of Toyota Prius in India which is priced at around Rs 26.5 lakh and onward will give a tough competition to Hyundai’s hybrid Sonata when it is launched in India.
No words have been spilled on the pricing of the hybrid Sonata, but considering the technology, we can assume that it will cost much more than the petrol engine variant Sonata which are priced at Rs.13,84,841 and onwards in India.