The 2020 Hyundai Sonata midsize saloon was revealed in Seoul this March Now debuting for world markets, the Sonata will also get a hybrid version equipped with a solar roof that will generate enough electricity for 1,300km of extra range annually.
Hyundai says the car will generate this kind of range from a minimum of six hours of daylight charging every day. While this could be a new step in hybrid technology for Hyundai, it is not necessarily a brand-new approach. Toyota, for instance, started offering a solar roof option in its Prius hybrid a few years ago. More recently, it has equipped the hybrid with a solar kit that can charge the car on the go.
Solar panels inlaid into the 2020 Hyundai Sonata's roof will generate an additional 1,300km of driving range every year.
However, the solar isn’t the only feature the Hyundai Sonata brings to the table. Setting itself apart from its conventional sibling, the Sonata hybrid debuts with what Hyundai calls Active Shift Control (ASC). A world-first piece of technology according to Hyundai, the gearbox optimizes efficiency by monitoring gear shifts 500 times every second, precisely adjusting the transmission rotation speed to achieve faster shift times.
ASC supplies new control logic software to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU), which is in charge of controlling the electric motor to align the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission to improve gear shift time by 30 percent. ASC also promises to deliver smoother gear changes despite quicker shift times.
Kyoung Joon Chang, Vice President and Head of Powertrain Control System Group of Hyundai Motor Group, spoke about the new technology, “The development of world’s first ASC technology is a remarkable innovation which incorporates precise motor control to automatic transmission. It will not only save fuel but also provide a more fun driving experience for our customers.”
The hybrid Sonata is distinguished from its conventional sibling by the solar panel and electric motor assisting the engine.
Hyundai has fitted the 2020 Sonata with a 2.0-litre inline-four petrol engine from its ‘Smartstream’ range of engines. Making 152hp and 188Nm, the engine is paired with the 51hp-250Nm motor to offer a total output of 193hp and 438Nm.
Hyundai will eventually introduce Active Shift Control down the model hierarchy, also offering the tech in future Kia vehicles.