Hyundai plans to launch a Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius fighting plug-in hybrid in late 2012.
Hyundai has improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years and intends to perform another spectacular jump with its intent to produce a plug-in hybrid for sale in 2012. “We want to be the world leader in fuel economy and alternative fuels,” said Yang Woong-chul, president of Hyundai-Kia Motors’ research and development division.
The plug-in hybrid will be based on the four-door Blue-Will sports car concept now on display at the Seoul Auto Show. The Blue-Will is powered by a 1.6-liter direct-injected gas engine and a 134-hp (100 kW) electric motor. Hyundai developed its own lithium-ion battery for use in the vehicle. “Almost every part on this car has been developed in-house,” said Yang. “That will make it possible to make this vehicle affordable.”
According to Yang, the Blue-Will has an electric only range of around 38 miles- similar to the Volt’s electric only range of 40 miles. In “plug-in” mode, Hyundai claims a fuel economy rating of 106 mpg and up to 55 mpg in hybrid-electric mode. To aid recharging, the Blue-Will concept features a panoramic glass roof with solar cells.
It seems Hyundai is using the hybrid idea as another way to get people to notice the Korean brand. “We want to show our technological image to get people to the dealerships to drive our cars,” Yang said. “We are not necessarily trying to make money on hybrids.”
Yang would not estimate a price tag, but with the recent price war that has broken out between the Honda and Toyota hybrids and the Chevrolet Volt’s estimated $40,000 sticker, the price is anyone’s guess. Yang did say however, that the hybrid technology is probably a Hyundai only thing and no Kia hybrid model is expected to appear.
Source: Automotive News