2019 Hyundai Tucson Gets Mild Hybrid Power, Remains Just Out of Reach

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Those Europeans seem like a scared lot. Always trying to appease their domineering rulers’ demands for greener cars, all thanks to strict mandates handed down from the central powers in Belgium.

While we’re hardly that different over here (minus that whole “union of member states” thing), Europe’s push for fuel efficiency generates technological ripples that reach this side of the Atlantic. Eventually, anyway. For the 2019 model year, European customers gain a 48-volt mild hybrid option for the refreshed Hyundai Tucson, heralding a similar setup that’s expected to land in American showrooms before too long.

Right now, Hyundai’s letting its European division handle all of this mild hybrid stuff, as it’s initially only destined for diesel powerplants. That probably won’t remain the case, as the automaker plans to develop gasoline mild hybrids with far greater market appeal.

Everything’s on the table when it comes to Hyundai’s plan to conquer America… again. There’s a 2.2-liter diesel coming to the redesigned Santa Fe. The subcompact Kona’s getting an all-electric variant. Already, there’s three flavors of electrification available in the Ioniq line, and the Sonata lets you handle its plug, too. With an onslaught of new crossovers on the way, the need to boost the entire fleet’s gas mileage makes a 48-volt system an attractive option for some models. Jeep’s already going this route.

At the very least, it’s an option Hyundai could pull out of its toolbox.

Hyundai said the mild hybrid 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder bound for the Euro-spec 2019 Tucson gains a 16 horsepower boost from its belt starter generator system, which draws power from a 0.44 kWh battery. Regenerative coasting and braking recharges the lithium-ion unit. Just recently, Kia debuted a diesel mild hybrid system bound for the European-market Sportage, though that system offers slightly less grunt under hard acceleration.

The goal for Hyundai’s engineers is to boost fuel economy by 7 percent in vehicles using the system.

[Image: Hyundai]