Hyundai: Ioniq Hybrid achieves 58 mpg

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Hyundai Motor Co. is gearing up to be a leader in fuel-efficient, hybrid vehicles starting later this year with its 2017 Ioniq family of vehicles.

The three-car lineup includes an all-electric, plug-in hybrid and a hybrid electric vehicle, or HEV, which will arrive by early next year with a combined miles per gallon of 58 — ousting the popular Toyota Prius Eco as hybrid mileage king.

“We need some way to ‘pop’ above our competitors and get recognition in an area where we’re just kind of a new born, said Michael J. O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America vice president of corporate and product planning, during a media event Thursday at its technical center near Ypsilanti. “I think for us having class-leading numbers is certainly a way of getting noticed.”

The hybrid will have an EPA-certified 57 miles per gallon city and 59 miles per gallon highway, according to Hyundai. That compares to the Toyota Prius Eco at 58 mpg city and 53 mpg highway for a combined 56 mpg.

The all-electric Ioniq, which will begin arriving in dealerships by year’s end is expected to achieve a range of 124 miles, while Hyundai is not releasing details of the PHEV until closer to its launch in the third quarter of next year.

The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid both feature a new “Kappa” 1.6-liter direct-injected, four-cylinder engine delivering an estimated 104 horsepower and an estimated 109 lb.-ft. of torque

The Ioniq family of vehicles is the first of any automaker to offer three distinct electrified powertrains on a single, dedicated vehicle platform.

The Ioniq cars, which were unveiled domestically earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show, are three of 28 or more “eco-friendly” vehicles, including hybrids and PHEVs, the South Korean automaker plans to launch globally by 2020, according to Byung K. Ahn, director of Hyundai eco-vehicle performance development group.

The first vehicles under that plan for the United States included the Sonata Hybrid and plug-in hybrid and Tucson Fuel Cell.

Hyundai expects the green automobile market to expand from 2 million units in 2014 to 6.4 million units by 2020 — primarily driven by a new generation of car buyers.

“With these new millennials coming to market, the fundamental drivers for demand are going to change,” O’Brien said. “Everybody’s data suggests that their preferences are different.”

Much of that growth is expected to come from the hybrids, or HEVs, and plug-in hybrid electrics, or PHEVs, that Hyundai plans to offer by 2020.

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