Hyundai unveils first Korean-made plug-in hybrid

The new Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is displayed next to Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun of Hyundai Motor Co. at the media preview of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 12, 2015. (photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Co.)

Korea Times: 

South Korea’s top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. took the wraps off of its Sonata plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at a motor show in the U.S. on Monday (local time), its first-ever car that can be recharged to run on both gasoline and electricity.

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is a first of its kind engineered and built by a South Korean company, and will be a symbol of our outstanding green vehicle technology,” said Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun of Hyundai Motor.

The company released the details of the unveiling in Seoul.

The new hybrid midsize sedan, shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is estimated to travel up to 22 miles, or 35.4 kilometers, solely on electric power with its 9.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack, according to Hyundai Motor.

The powertrain incorporates a 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine coupled with a 50-kilowatt electric motor so that the vehicle can continue to operate with the likes of the more conventional hybrid cars even when the battery runs out.

Standard safety features include a tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control, which helps to avoid crashes by reducing the dangers of skidding. The plug-in model also comes with vehicle stability management for directional steadiness when driving on slippery roads.

The Sonata PHEV, to be produced in South Korea, will be launched in the carmaker’s home market and in the United States later this year, Hyundai said. Pricing of the new hybrid was not disclosed.

Hyundai Motor will strengthen its competitiveness in overall eco-friendly car lineups, including fuel cell, hybrid and electric vehicles, so as to emerge as an industry leader in the business,” Chung said.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors Corp., flagships of the world’s No. 5 automotive conglomerate Hyundai Motor Group, plan to become the world’s second-largest manufacturers of fuel-efficient cars by 2020, up from fifth place they claimed last year. Toyota is currently the industry leader in the green car sector.

Industry analysts anticipate that demand for eco-friendly vehicles will soar to 6.4 million units in 2020 from last year’s 2.2 million.


Hyundai taps Google Glass compatibility to boost sales


Wall Street Journal: 

Hyundai Motor Co. is hoping to further raise its appeal to tech-savvy customers with a new app that allows owners to interact with their vehicles remotely through Google Glass and potentially other wearable devices.

Among the features being launched with Hyundai’s all-new 2015 Genesis, owners will be able to use their wearable device to remotely start a car’s engine, unlock and even to locate the vehicle, according to the South Korean carmaker. Hyundai will start selling the Genesis to U.S. customers this spring.

Meanwhile, push notifications through the wearable device will alert drivers when maintenance is needed and allow quick service scheduling, the company said.

Wearables are a great way to extend the experience outside of the vehicle by leveraging these small screens to quickly access remote features and deliver timely vehicle information,” said Barry Ratzlaff an executive director at Hyundai Motor America.

Just how the new app functions was showcased this week just ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hyundai said.  The new software follows other mobile apps already on offer by Hyundai for driver-car interaction.

While the CES has traditionally been the stage of electronics giants, the show is expected to embrace a broader pool of industry topics this year with an increasing number of auto names crashing the event this year. Analysts say that the roles of automakers and electronics firms may become blurred going forward, especially if electric cars play a more central role in the auto industry.

Samsung Electronics Co. has filed a number of patent applications in the U.S. and South Korea that cover technology that could be adopted in electric vehicles, though the company has denied any interest to enter the car market.

Hyundai’s move to jazz up its flagship sedan, the Genesis, with a suite of technology and connectivity features comes as it struggles to improve its weak image in the global market for premium cars. To boost sales, the company has sold the Genesis luxury sedan at a discount to many of its Japanese and European rivals.

The price for the existing Genesis sedan starts at $35,200 in the U.S., according to the company. The Lexus ES350 starts at $36,470 and the BMW 5 series starts at $49,500. Pricing details have yet to be disclosed for the 2015 Genesis.

The new Genesis also faces a crowd of competitors in the market for larger, luxury sedans in the U.S., a segment where sales growth has been flat in 2013. Additionally, Hyundai’s Genesis will also compete against its ultraluxury sister, the Hyundai Equus, which looks similar to the Genesis but is equipped with more luxury features and starts at $61,000.

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Hyundai taps Google Glass compatibility to boost sales