Forward Thinking: Hyundai Sets CAFE Target of 50 MPG by 2025

Automobile Staff
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Hyundai's product lineup as of late has shown how a smaller, more efficient powertrain can achieve high fuel economy figures. as exemplified by the lineup of turbocharged, hybrid, and naturally aspirated engines in the 2011 Sonata. Now, Hyundai is taking its commitment to efficiency one step further, and will reach for a 50-mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy target by 2025.

“Now, is that a stretch target? Yeah …” said Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik. Krafcik said Hyundai expects 75-percent to 80-percent of its ’25 fleet will consist of vehicles powered by cutting-edge technology internal combustion engines, 15- to 20-percent will be plug-in hybrids and about 5 percent will be battery electrics or will have fuel cell powerplants.

It’s not a completely in-the-dark target for Hyundai. Krafcik said the automaker will unveil a key piece of its goal at the Los Angeles auto show this November. Hyundai also looks to be the first mainline automaker to use direct injection in all its gasoline engines soon.

The ’25 target is a response to the Obama administration’s “next step” in fuel economy improvements. Krafcik, speaking at the annual Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars here, noted that when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposed a 35-mpg standard for the state by 2020, competitors objected. Hyundai sent CARB a response that said, “yeah, we’re good for that,” and promised to reach that CAFE in 2015, five years early.

Early last year, the new Obama administration struck a deal with CARB and the automakers to set a federal standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016. Since then, the administration has announced it is working on a higher standard for 2017-25.

Hyundai led the 2008 CAFE race, the most recent year for which the Environmental Protection Agency has released figures, with an average of 30.9 mpg, to Honda’s 30.1 mpg and Toyota’s 29.0 mpg. Krafcik said Hyundai expects to maintain the lead when 2009 figures are available.

What do you think? Can Hyundai achieve such a lofty target? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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