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Hyundai, Kia launch hybrid Sonata, K5

Hyundai Motor Group’s two carmakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. are receiving orders for their first gasoline-hybrid electric vehicles from Monday.

While the carmakers had introduced hybrid electric vehicles based on the compact cars Avante and Forte with liquefied natural gas-electric powertrain, the hybrid Sonata and K5 are their first gasoline-electric hybrids.

The vehicles are fitted with the newly developed 2-liter Nu engine that puts out 150 brake horsepower and a 30-kilowatt electric motor, the combination of which puts their fuel economy at 21 kilometers per liter. The two are fitted with six-speed automatic transmission developed specifically for hybrid electric vehicles.

According to the companies, the electric motor fitted in the two hybrid models is 18 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than those used in hybrid electric vehicles from rival carmakers.

In Hyundai Motor Group’s hybrid electric system, the engine clutch remains open when the vehicle is starting and when driving at low speeds enabling the vehicle to be powered without contribution from the engine.

When the vehicle is moving uphill and at higher speeds, the clutch is engaged bringing both the engine and the electric motor into play.

The vehicles are also the world’s first hard-type electric hybrid vehicles ― hybrid electric cars that are able to operate using only electricity at low speeds ― to be fitted with a lithium ion polymer battery pack. In order to ensure pedestrian safety, both the K5 and the Sonata are fitted with a virtual engine sound system to enable pedestrians to hear the vehicles when in full-electric mode.
K5 hybrid
K5 hybrid
Sonata hybrid Hyundai Motor Co. (Sonata hybrid)
Sonata hybrid Hyundai Motor Co. (Sonata hybrid)

According to Hyundai Motor Group, the lithium ion polymer battery pack used in the Sonata and K5 hybrids has 63 percent higher power density and is 25 percent lighter than conventional batteries used in hybrid electric vehicles, allowing higher fuel efficiency.

The Sonata hybrid comes in two trim levels, Premier and Royal, which are priced at 29.75 million won ($27,900) and 32.95 million won.

The K5 hybrid comes in three trim levels that are priced at 29.25 million won, 30.95 million won and 31.95 million won.

The prices include the maximum tax incentive of 1.3 million won provided for eco-friendly vehicles.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com):
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