Hyundai plans sporty plug-in for U.S. by 2012

Automotive News reports on Hyundai's plans to launch a plug-in hybrid.

Automotive News

Automotive News

LOS ANGELES--Hyundai plans to have a plug-in hybrid on sale in U.S. by late 2012.

Yang Woong-chul, research and development president of Hyundai-Kia Motors, says the new hybrid-only vehicle will be based on the Blue-Will concept shown at the Seoul Motor Show in April.

"We're going after Prius and the Volt with the plug-in," he said.

Blue-Will is an aggressive-looking four-door sports car powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and a 100-kilowatt electric motor that together make 152 horsepower. The engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission. The lithium ion batteries will be supplied by LG Chem, of South Korea.

The concept has a wheelbase of 106.3 inches and is 169.3 inches long. According to Hyundai, the Blue-Will will get an estimated 50 mpg to 55 mpg in the hybrid-electric mode. It can travel about 38 miles in electric-only mode.

"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.

"We want to get people to drive our cars. We need to get people to the dealerships."

Yang did not have any production numbers for the plug-in hybrid. He said Kia is not scheduled to get the vehicle.

Next year Hyundai will introduce its first hybrid in the United States when the mid-sized Sonata sedan is redesigned for the 2011 model year.

(Source: Automotive News)