Well, it happened quicker than we have anticipated. Just last November, Hyundai Motor Group made known that future Kia and Hyundai cars will have solar charging roof and hood, and today, it is a reality. Officially announce today is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid that leverages on Hyundai Motor Group-developed solar roof system to increase the electric range while preventing battery discharge.
Visually, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Sedan looks not much different from its gas-powered model introduced at the NYIAS in April, save for a few cosmetic tweaks which include an hybrid-exclusive cascading grille and rear spoiler, a set of swanky alloy wheels, and the solar roof. TBH, the latter is not immediately obvious unless you are really tall, or you are viewing the vehicle from a higher ground.
Hyundai said with 6 hours of daily charging, the solar roof is able to up the travel distance by an additional 1,300 kilometers (808 miles)… annually. Don’t you love how the marketeers’ way of playing with words? Not going to lie. I was astounded by the “extra mileage” before I realized it was per year basis. Then again, that’s the battery endurance on a hybrid that we are talking about and so, I supposed it is the way to benchmark it.
In addition to the somewhat gimmicky solar roof, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Sedan is also the first automobile to received Active Shift Control (ASC) technology that affords the “electric motor to align the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission,” thereby cutting the gear shift time by 30 percent. With the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, you’d expect improved acceleration and fuel economy, and durability of the transmission – thanks to the reduced friction during a gear shift.
Under the hood, the hybrid variant is driven forth by Smartstream G2.0 GDi HEV engine, coupled to a 6-speed hybrid transmission. All told, the gas motor puts out 152 PS (150 HP) and 19.2 kgf.m (139 lb-ft or 188 Nm) of torque, while the electric drive pumps out 38 kW (52 HP) and 205 Nm (151 lb-ft) of torque to arrive to a combined system power output of 195 PS and a frugal fuel consumption of 20.1 kilometers per liter (47 mpg).
Also featured in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Sedan is the Digital Key, first announced last year March. Digital Key leverages on both NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy to allow driver to lock and unlock the vehicle, activate the alarm, start the engine using a smartphone, set level of access to different vehicle functions for each user for a defined period and more.
Last but not the least, Sonata Hybrid also boasts Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, as well as Lane Follow Assist. It is not known when the Sonata Hybrid will roll into the market.
All images courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group.