• South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (C) dirves Hyundai's first full-speed electric vehicle, BlueOn, during an unveiling ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on September 9m 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, designed to tap into the increasingly competitive electric auto market, hailed as the industry's future. REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT AFP PHOTO/DONG-A ILBO (Photo credit: DONG-A ILBO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • South Korean President Lee Myung-bak test dirves Hyundai's electric vehicle, BlueOn, in the compound of the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled its first electric car Thursday as it moves to catch up with Japanese rivals that have jumped ahead in the field. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Yonhap, Chun Soo-young)
  • South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (2nd R) listens to an introduction about Hyundai's first full-speed electric vehicle, BlueOn, during an unveiling ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on September 9m 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, designed to tap into the increasingly competitive electric auto market, hailed as the industry's future. (Photo credit: DONG-A ILBO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (C) listens to an introduction about Hyundai's first full-speed electric vehicle, BlueOn, during an unveiling ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on September 9m 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, designed to tap into the increasingly competitive electric auto market, hailed as the industry's future. (Photo credit: DONG-A ILBO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (R) looks at Hyundai's first full-speed electric vehicle, BlueOn, during an unveiling ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on September 9m 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, designed to tap into the increasingly competitive electric auto market, hailed as the industry's future. (Photo credit: DONG-A ILBO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak (2nd L) listens to an introduction about Hyundai's first full-speed electric vehicle, BlueOn, during an unveiling ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on September 9m 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, designed to tap into the increasingly competitive electric auto market, hailed as the industry's future. (Photo credit: DONG-A ILBO/AFP/Getty Images)
  • South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak dirves Hyundai's first full-speed electric vehicle, BlueOn, during an unveiling ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on September 9m 2010. Hyundai Motor unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, designed to tap into the increasingly competitive electric auto market, hailed as the industry's future. (Photo credit: DONG-A ILBO/AFP/Getty Images)
California's stringent automotive emissions mandates, which require that all automakers include some form of Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) in the lineup, may be forcing the hand of Hyundai, suggests The Detroit Bureau after a recent tweet from John Krafcik, HMA Chief Executive. Up until now, the Korean automaker has been attempting to meet future regulations with fuel-cell vehicles like the modified ix35/Tuscon models (the technology uses hydrogen to generate electricity), but consumers have been slow to warm to hydrogen citing an immature and undeveloped refueling infrastructure.

While battery-powered EVs are far from perfect, they appeal to consumers who have short commutes and owners who find it convenient to recharge at home. If Hyundai were to get into the EV game in short order, one solution could be the BlueOn battery car (shown above) that is sold in the automaker's domestic market. In its current state, the BlueOn offers a 16.4-kWh lithium polymer battery, which provides a range of just over 85 miles and a lethargic 0-60 time of 13.1 seconds.

To be competitive, Hyundai would have to boost performance or seek another more expensive solution. We'll have to wait for official word, or another tweet from Krafcik, to see which way the company is heading.

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