If Hyundai does push through with it, its plug-in car, which it expects to roll out by late 2012, is set to give the Prius and the Volt a run for its electricity. According to Hyundai’s research & development president, Yang Woong-Chul, the new plug-in hybrid will be based on a concept car it introduced at the Seoul Motor Show last April : the Blue-Will.
Releasing plug-in hybrids is fast becoming a trend these days with most automakers racing to create their own version lest they get left behind by their contemporaries. Toyota, one of the first companies to release a hybrid car, has said that they plan to release 30,000 plug-in hybrids in 2012. Likewise, the Chevrolet Volt, which will be released at the later stages of 2010, is widely expected to be the car that will jumpstart General Motors’ reinvention.
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The Korean automaker Hyundai is now following suit with the Blue-Will-inspired plug-in hybrid. The car, while still a prototype, is expected to come with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a 100-kilowatt electric motor that runs on lithium ion batteries that will be manufactured by LG Chem. Hyundai is pegging the Blue-Will to be able to consume 50 to 55 mpg in its electric-hybrid state and 38 mpg in a purely electric state.
Yang mixed no words in saying what the company hopes to accomplish in the future. "We want to be the leader in fuel economy and alternative fuels," Yang said. "We want to show our technology and improve our image, not necessarily make money on hybrids.”
If Yang is true to his words and backs it up, then expect Hyundai to become a major player in the electric-hybrid race of the future.