A Solar Powered Car: The Upcoming 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

To say the upcoming 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a solar powered car is a bit of a stretch, but I am not that far off. Instead of a traditional sun roof, the pre-production vehicle that I drove for a week featured a large solar panel on the roof. This allows the car to re-charge its batteries while sitting in the hot sun. Effectively allowing you to drive an electric vehicle up to 2-miles per day on solar alone. Hyundai did a great job with this; not only from an engineering side, but from an understated design perspective. It look like a sleek Hyundai sedan from a distance, which I like. Solar powered roof only gets noticed when you closely look at the roof.

I appreciate the environment, but I don’t want to advertise to everyone: “Hey look at me, I am going green!” So, this is perfect.

Should you work over 2-miles from your home, there is a gasoline-hybrid drivetrain to keep you going. It works similar to a traditional plug-in hybrid system. With a fully charged battery around town, the vehicle drives on electric only. Then once the battery depletes, a gasoline engine takes over to power the car and recharge the batteries. Maximum efficiency will produce up to 50 mpg in the city and up to 54 mpg on the highway.

The 2020 Hyundai Hybrid is quick for your average sedan, however it isn’t a rocket ship either. You can still have a bit of fun with it. I was able to spin the wheels at standstill with both the electric motor and gasoline engine working in harmony. While cornering, there is bit of understeer and you can feel the increased weight due to the battery packs, but it is still amusing to drive.

I imagine most buyers of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be more concerned about comfort than lap times. So you won’t be disappointed. The pre-production car I tested featured ultra-soft leather seats that we both heated the cooled. The steering wheel was also wrapped in soft leather. Two large digital displays beautifully showed all of your vital instruments, as well as the infotainment options. The controls were very intuitive, with appropriate knobs and buttons to change preferences without having to take your eyes away from the road for an extended period of time.

My test vehicle was loaded with safety technology, most of which I assume will come standard or as a low-cost option: Forward Collision Avoidance, Blind-spot Collision-Avoidance, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance, and Lane Keep Assist. All this safety technology, will help prevent you from scratching your shinny new 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

The car is currently not available to the public, but I was told that it is expected to hit showroom floors sometime this spring. With the coronavirus looming around, I wouldn’t be surprised if its release gets pushed back to summer. Either way, it is definitely a car worth waiting for.