Hyundai reportedly plans to put a plug-in hybrid into production for the U.S. by late 2012 that will be based on the oddly-styled BLUE-WILL concept that's currently being shown off at the Seoul Motor Show. We're not sure if features like the rooftop solar panels and headlamp bezels made from recycled drink bottles will make it to the sales floor, but a variant on the concept's plug-in parallel hybrid drivetrain sounds like a lock.
The BLUE-WILL is said to be capable of traveling about 38 miles on battery power before a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injected powerplant kicks in to keep the party going. Hyundai says it expects the hybrid to earn an equivalent rating of 106 miles per gallon when running in EV mode and an overall rating of 55 mpg when the gas engine is in operation.
Though the Korean automaker isn't ready to talk price, Yang Woong-chul, Hyundai's president of R&D, says, "We want to show our technological image to get people to the dealerships to drive our cars. We are not necessarily trying to make money on hybrids." Based on Hyundai's recent success in entering new markets and taking on new competitors, Toyota, General Motors and Honda may have good reason to be worried.