Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Is More Than Just A Carrier For Cool Solar Panels

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in its favorite setting: sunny.


The future of the automobile probably looks a lot like the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid I drove in southwest Florida last week. It delivers staggering readings of fuel economy like 46 mpg, in part because solar panels are engraved into the roof, and it doesn’t require any range fear to do so.

The car is beautifully and innovatively designed and exudes a more expensive atmosphere than the price supports. It’s smooth and actually fun to drive. The Sonata Hybrid’s security enhancing technologies make the operating experience much more secure.

It is also amusing when restaurant attendants ask your vehicle, “Are those solar panels actually powering the car?” instead of worrying about something like seat seams or the size of the navigation screen.

And forget the fact that the new Sonata Hybrid remains – a sedan. Hyundai is one of the brands that have continued to focus their futures heavily on this conventional form of automobile, despite the impressive expansion of their SUV and crossover fleet while domestic brands like Chevrolet and Ford are largely ditching sedans.

Sonata Hybrid combines great outdoor design, performance, safety, and indoor comfort with the bonus of state-of-the-art green powertrain – all in one package that retails for as little as $ 28,000 to more than $ 35,000.

In a sunny market like Florida in particular, the discussion of the Sonata Hybrid must begin with a look at its solar roof system, the only solar roof offered in a normal production car on the US market that is capable of recharging the traction battery. which is powered by the car’s electric motors. Two solar modules occupy the roof of the car – 39 x 26 inches each – while a solar DC / DC converter regulates the voltage to the correct values ​​of 310 volts for the hybrid battery and 12 volts for the accessory battery and charges in sequence until both are charged are full.

In practice, the solar modules only provide a tiny part of the Sonata Hybrid’s total electricity requirements and require a lot of sunshine for this. Using ambitious assumptions, Hyundai says that in a really sunny climate like Florida, the energy from the system could be up to 300 kWh per year, or up to 1,200 miles.

And the solar system will be of even less help in Michigan, where I live. The point, however, is that Hyundai has embraced the solar roof technology it and other automakers are sure to develop and improve over the years, adding to the overall appeal of the hybrid format – while the all-electric platform continues to battle a relative shortage of hybrid charging stations and endemic ones Consumer concerns about range anxiety.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is also setting new standards in other important areas, including automated safety technology. A few of them have proven very useful when I was doing laps in Florida, including the one where you notice you may be fidgeting and jiggling a little with sleepiness and prompting you to take a break to relieve your fatigue alleviate – with an icon of a cup of coffee.

This particular form of electronic support is of course widespread nowadays. Has another one too, but it was the first time I experienced the second one in the Sonata Hybrid. Stopping at one of those long traffic lights that Florida is famous for, I nodded off for a second behind a vehicle – only to be pinged from the instrument panel and alerted to the fact that the vehicle had driven away in front of me. I really appreciated the hint.

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