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

Article by Christian A., on January 4, 2011

An all-new 2011 Sonata Hybrid has just completed a coast-to-coast journey – from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to an island off the Atlantic Coast of Georgia. The trip covered 2,269 miles and crossed over mountains, deserts and valleys, the Continental Divide and the Mississippi River. Moreover, the Sonata Hybrid covered this distance with a single stop – just to refuel – thereby demonstrating its superb range and fuel efficiency.

Wayne Gerdes, a professional driver who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe techniques employed to maximize fuel efficiency in cars, started the trip in San Diego, California on December 26, 2010. At New Year’s Day, Gerdes arrived in Georgia using only 38 gallons of fuel for the coast-to-coast trip.

Gerdes remarked that as a fan of fuel-efficient vehicles, he enjoyed the challenge of testing new technologies, adding that the feat demonstrates how the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid could deliver impressive fuel economy and range for drivers seeking fuel savings. He added that this was the first time that he drove a car that ‘does it right!’ He noted that the Sonata Hybrid -- driving on the interstate at the posted speed limit -- will surpass or equal its rivals while being larger, roomier, and more comfortable.

Hybrid vehicles have proven to be able to travel long distances, but only in staged demonstrations or controlled environments. However, the coast-to-coast challenge conquered by Gerdes had the Sonata Hybrid driven by himself and in real-world conditions during winter.

John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO, remarked that while drive was little more extreme than what most owners are expected to undertake, the demonstration highlights the range and efficiency of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. He remarked that while the Sonata delivered some incredible results for Hyundai in 2010, the coast-to-coast drive was a great way to kick off 2011, when the carmaker commences retail sales of the new Sonata Hybrid.

The third member of the Sonata family, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid joins the conventionally powered 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection Sonata. The 2.4 Sonata returns a fuel economy rating of 35 mpg highway rating, while the 274-hp 2.0T Sonata offers 33 mpg highway. The Sonata Hybrid, meanwhile, returns 40-mpg highway rating, as partly made possible by an industry-first lithium-polymer battery technology.

Production of the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has already commenced, while sales are due to begin in January. This mid-size sedan is rated by the EPA to return 35 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, as consistent with North American driving habits. North American drivers usually spend more than 50 percent of their driving mileage on highways.

The groundbreaking new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid employs lithium-polymer batteries and a six-speed transmission. It will be available in two versions: the generously equipped Sonata Hybrid is available $25,795, while well-equipped, technology- packed Premium version is offered at $30,795.

Krafcik quipped that the new Sonata Hybrid is offering something new to the mid-size sedan segment like its distinct looks, 40-mpg highway rating, as well as impressive value. He noted that the three Sonata powertrains shows the carmaker’s distinct approach blending groundbreaking technologies and emotional design into its new products.

Interestingly, the coast-to-coast trip wasn’t the first time that Gerdes produced impressive fuel economy results in a Sonata. Last summer, he piloted a 2011 2.4 L GDI Sonata from Chicago to New York City, consuming less than a tank of gas in the process.

Press Release

HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID DEMONSTRATES FUEL EFFICIENCY AND RANGE IN CROSS-CONTINENTAL TREK

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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