Hyundai's first-ever hybrid automobile for the U.S. market will be based on the redesigned 2011 Sonata midsize sedan, but it certainly isn't the only fuel-saver the Korean automaker has in store. According to Automotive News, Yang Woong-chul, president of R&D for Hyundai-Kia Motors, has reiterated his company's plans to aggressively (if belatedly) enter the increasingly crowded hybrid market.
To that end, Hyundai plans to launch a new sporty plug-in electric car based on the striking Blue-Will concept from Seoul Motor Show earlier this year. Powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injected powerplant and 100kw electric motor mated up with a continuously variable transmission, the Blue-Will reportedly has a range of 38 miles in EV mode and an overall rating of 55 mpg when the gas engine is in operation.
Expect a similar drivetrain for the production car when it hits the market in 2012 to go up against the upcoming Chevrolet Volt and the plug-in version of Toyota's standard-bearing Prius hybrid. So far, there's no word on expected pricing for the PHEV, but Hyundai says the goal is to 'show its technology and improve its image,' not to make money. Consider our interest piqued.
[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]