2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid goes in a journey of 2269 miles using just two tanks of fuel

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 4, 2011

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid passed all the tests when it was driven by hypermiler Wayne Gerdes in a journey of 2269 miles from Pacific Ocean to Atlantic Ocean averaging 59.58 miles per gallon.

Hyundai announced today that the all-new 2011 Sonata Hybrid completed a drive from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to this island off the Atlantic Coast of Georgia, crossing the mountains, deserts and valleys. What is more interesting is that the driver of the car made just one stop for fuel.

Hyundai says that the first tank of fuel helped the 2011 Sonata Hybrid to travel for 1221.2 miles, while the second tank of fuel gave it an extra 1048.1 miles with 2.5 gallons remaining. For those who don’t know, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid was rated by EPA at 40 mpg on the highway for a range of nearly 700 miles.

Press Release


An all-new 2011 Sonata Hybrid completed a drive from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to this island off the Atlantic Coast of Georgia, covering 2,269 miles crossing over mountains, deserts and valleys, the Continental Divide and the Mississippi River, with only one stop for fuel, demonstrating the range and fuel efficiency of Hyundai’s new hybrid sedan, which goes on sale this month.

Professional driver Wayne Gerdes, the man who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe techniques used by driving enthusiasts to maximize fuel efficiency in cars, began his journey in San Diego on December 26, 2010 and celebrated New Years Day in Georgia using only 38 gallons of fuel to cross the continent.

“As a fan of fuel-efficient vehicles, I enjoy the challenge of putting new technology to the test,” says Gerdes. “This demonstration shows how the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can deliver extremely impressive fuel economy and range for drivers who value fuel savings. This is the first time I’ve driven a car that ‘does it right!’ Driving on the interstate at the posted speed limit (or 65 mph, whichever is slower), the Sonata Hybrid will exceed or equal its competition while offering a much larger, roomier, and comfortable car.”

Hybrids have been driven long distances previously in staged demonstrations aimed at amassing miles on the odometer. In this challenge, Gerdes drove alone in the Sonata Hybrid and crossed the continental United States from point-to-point, not in a controlled loop, but in real-world conditions in the cold of winter.

"While the drive was bit more extreme than we expect most owners to undertake, this demonstration underscores the range and efficiency of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid,” says Hyundai Motor America president and CEO, John Krafcik.

“Sonata delivered some incredible results for us in 2010. This drive was a great way to kick off 2011 when we begin retail sales of the Sonata Hybrid.”

Three Versions of the 2011 Sonata
The 2011 Sonata Hybrid is the third of the Sonata family, which includes the conventionally powered 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection model, with the first-ever 35-mpg highway rating for a non-hybrid, a remarkable 33-mpg highway rating for 2.0T (which packs 274 horsepower, more than any V6 in the segment), a best-ever 40-mpg highway rating for the breakthrough Sonata Hybrid featuring industry-first lithium-polymer battery technology.

At a time in which new technology powertrains have captured headlines, if not sales success, Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid makes its debut with production now underway and sales to begin in January. Its 35-mpg city, 40-mpg highway EPA rating achieves a new level of highway fuel economy for a mid-size sedan, consistent with North American driving habits (which average more than 50% of their driving mileage on highways).

Hyundai is taking an innovative approach offering the first hybrid using lithium-polymer batteries and a 6-speed transmission. Keeping with Hyundai’s simplified approach to product packaging, the Sonata Hybrid comes in just two models from the factory – the very well-equipped Sonata Hybrid at $25,795, and the incredibly well-equipped, tech-feature-packed Premium version at $30,795.

“Sonata Hybrid offers something new to the mid-size sedan segment, with its segment-leading 40-mpg highway fuel economy rating, differentiated appearance, and incredible value,” says Krafcik. “Our three Sonata powertrains demonstrate Hyundai’s unique approach melding innovative technologies and emotional design into products more and more people want to put in their driveways.”

This is not Gerdes’ first time producing impressive fuel economy results in a Sonata. Last summer, he drove a 2011 2.4 L GDI Sonata from Chicago to New York City on less than one tank of gas.

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