The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, (PHEV) is the first rechargeable hybrid vehicle offered by the Korean company. Based on the very popular Sonata sedan, the PHEV features a few changes such as: an electric charging port on the driver’s-side front fender a unique grille, front and rear bumpers, Interior dimensions remain the same as a roomy five seater with ample cargo space. The key attraction with Sonata PHEV is its class-leading all-electric range of 43 km. To put that in perspective, the Sonata PHEV has the ability to provide a zero gasoline fuel and zero exhaust emissions commute if you are able to stay within its battery range.
The PHEV magic in the Sonata is the result of its hybrid power train, namely a 50 kW electric motor (67 horsepower) with a six-speed automatic transmission and a 2.0 liter four cylinder engine. The Sonata starts off on silent, smooth electric power and when the electric range is depleted, the 2.0-litre Atkinson GDI four-cylinder engine (with 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft. of torque) seamlessly kicks in and provides a normal hybrid driving experiences. The Sonata PHEV net output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and its fuel consumption is estimated to deliver a combined 2.4 Le/100km.
In terms of battery charging, the Sonata’s lithium-polymer battery pack has a capacity of 9.8 kWh and can be recharged in less than 3 hours using a Level 2 charger (240V) or approximately 9 hours with a standard 120V wall outlet. The battery in the Sonata PHEV can also be recharged while driving.
On the road, the PHEV Sonata drives like an EV on starting and for the duration of its electric charge. Silent, smooth and without drama. It rides comfortably and the electric steering is quick and precise. When the gas engine does kick in, it a seamless transition.
To sum up, the Sonata is a bit of game changer with it class- leading all-electric range, judicious overall fuel economy, and high spec equipment and safety list. Another plus is that the Sonata PHEV qualifies for provincial government rebates (All figures estimated) in Ontario ($6,346), Quebec ($4,000), and British Columbia ($2,500). Customers will also receive a home EV charger installation credit of $1,000 in Ontario, and $600 in Quebec. The Sonata PHEV pricing starts at $43,999 for the Ultimate model – a rather steep hike from the base Sonata Hybrid that starts at $29,649. However if you do a short commute that stays in electric range only, you could theoretically drive gas free. And that, no doubt is a tempting prospect for many drivers.