By 2016, automakers who wish to sell vehicles in the United States will have to produce a model lineup that averages 34.9 miles per gallon�or face big fines. Hyundai, which currently leads the industry in fuel economy, says that it will have no trouble reaching that or any other scheduled Corporate Average Fuel Economy increases.
In fact, Hyundai North American president John Krafcik this week told a seminar at the Center Automotive Research that the company plans to hit an average of 50 mpg for its lineup by 2025 thanks to a bold market strategy that prioritizes fuel efficiency and affordability�and puts hybrids front and center. As reported in The Detroit News, Krafcik told the audience, "Getting to 50 mpg and beyond seems like a huge leap, but by making this commitment and aligning our R&D initiatives now, we know we can get there."
The first steps have already been taken. Later this year, the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will hit dealerships in the U.S. The Sonata will offer highway fuel economy that approaches 40 mpg, and a price tag that is expected to beat competing mid-sized hybrid offerings from Ford and Toyota. The Korean carmaker has also committed to releasing a compact hybrid that it calls its "Prius fighter." That offering will be represent Hyundai's first move into the dedicated hybrid market and engineers are said to be trying to beat the Prius's fuel economy numbers.
One area that Hyundai hasn't yet fully committed to is plug-in cars. Though last year's Frankfurt Auto Show saw the debut of the Hyundai's Blue-Will plug-in hybrid concept, the carmaker says it will bide its time on lithium ion battery powered offerings until that technology's performance goes up and costs go down.
Read More... [Source: HybridCars.com]