Newly on sale in 10 states
When it was first announced at the beginning of this year, Hyundai’s first plug-in hybrid, the 2016 Sonata PHEV, we expected it to have a 22-mile electric driving range (before the gasoline engine kicks in and it starts acting more like a regular hybrid than an electric car) and a fuel efficiency of 93 MPG-equivalent. Well, usually car companies tend to overestimate what they can deliver, but in this case, the opposite happened: The actual Sonata PHEV has received an EPA rating of 99 MPGe overall and 40 MPG in “charge sustaining”, regular hybrid mode, and has an official electric-only driving range of 27 miles thanks to the 9.8kWh lithium polymer battery.
At the time of the unveiling, we had no information on pricing. This gap in our knowledge has been filled: The base model starts at $34,600 before incentives and the fancier ‘Limited’ model goes for $4,000 more. After federal tax incentives of $4,919 based on the 9.8 kWh battery capacity, the base model is $29,681 and the fancy-pants version $33,681.
That’s in a price range that many people will find affordable, especially if you take into account other potential perks (state incentives, some places offer HOV passes, fuel savings compared to a non-PHEV, etc).
“The 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for Hyundai and gives drivers the best of both worlds by providing the power delivery of a conventional gasoline engine for long trips or vacations with the additional benefit of environmentally-friendly all-electric range for commuting,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. “The flexibility of this alternative powertrain delivers efficient hybrid operation and eliminates any concerns for range anxiety, while providing an impressive total driving range capable of 600 miles.”
Hyundai did a nice job streamlining it. It has a 0.24 coefficient of drag, which is similar to the Tesla Model S.
The 2016 Sonata PHEV will be available in “select dealerships” (so call before you go) in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
I hope that this is just phase 1, and that it’ll be made available everywhere soon (maybe production needs to ramp up?). I’m sick of compliance cars… If your product is truly good and more efficient, make it available to everyone, don’t play games with regulators.