UPDATE (8/6/18): Hyundai Australia has issued a statement regarding the Tucson 48V hybrid. See bottom of article for details.
Hyundai Motor Europe has confirmed it will offer a new 48V mild-hybrid system in diesel versions of the facelifted 2019 Tucson from later this year.
With this setup, the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel Tucson will be assisted with up to 12kW for short periods, which can reduce fuel economy by up to 7.0 per cent under New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission.
According to Hyundai, the mild-hybrid system automatically switches between "mechanical use of the engine and energy recuperation", assisting the combustion engine by discharging the battery to reduce load during light acceleration or provide additional torque under strong acceleration.
During in-gear deceleration and braking, energy is regenerated to recharge the battery, which the company claims to help "significantly" improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
Production of the Euro-spec Tucson commences at the company's Czech factory this month, with the updated SUV to hit the market in that region shortly after.
"With our new mild hybrid powertrain system for our best-selling model, we are further expanding the company’s electrification strategy to make clean technologies accessible for even more customers," said Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, vice president for marketing and product at Hyundai Motor Europe.
"In order to continue on this path consistently, the highly efficient system has been developed by our engineers at our European Technical Centre. It will be available in combination with more engines in the future, as part of our highly diverse mix of electrified solutions."
As previously mentioned, the first powertrain to receive the tech will be the 137kW 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, offered with either a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed automatic, equipped with all-wheel drive as standard.
Hyundai has also confirmed that the new Smart Stream 1.6-litre diesel will receive the 48V mild-hybrid treatment in the European spring of 2019.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Bill Thomas, general manager for external affairs at Hyundai Australia, said: "We should never say never – and remember we always conduct detailed studies of all overseas products – but it’s unlikely we’ll be taking the Tucson mild hybrid here".
When quizzed about the wider rollout of the technology to other models in the stable – such as the i30 – Thomas added: "[We] don’t have information currently about whether or not i30 will receive similar tech, so it’s impossible to give you direction on whether or not we would take it here. But the same answer still applies: we’ll definitely study it closely if it happens".
Currently, the updated Tucson range is scheduled for a third-quarter launch Down Under, with vehicles likely to be sourced from Korea – meaning we could miss out on the mild-hybrid tech currently exclusive to the European production schedule.