DETROIT (Jan. 10, 12 p.m. ET) — So confident is auto maker Hyundai in the lithium-polymer battery pack of its Sonata Hybrid car that it has introduced a lifetime battery guarantee.
If the battery pack fails in service, Hyundai will replace it and cover recycling costs for the old pack free of charge to the Sonata owner.
The coverage will apply to all 2012 model year Sonata Hybrid models over the life expectancy of the vehicle. Hyundai tested the Sonata Hybrid and its Blue Drive hybrid drivetrain for more than 300,000 miles, demonstrating minimal degradation of power output or duration of operation.
Hyundai is the first to use lithium-polymer technology on production vehicles. Automotive duty cycles have temperature ranges that can swing from –40 to 50°C, and longevity requirements of 10 years and more render the lithium ion batteries used in consumer devices unsuitable.
Lithium polymer is considered the next generation of lithium ion technology and is regarded as particularly suited to vehicles such as hybrids, thanks to its particular chemical characteristics. The batteries use carbon fiber and nanocomposite plastics on the exterior body side sills, moldings and fenders.