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Future models - Hyundai - BLUE-WILL

First look: Hyundai steamroller plugs in

Getting the Blues: Hyundai's Blue-Will concept will feature world-first battery technology when its goes on show at Seoul motor show.

Plug-in hybrid emerges from Korea as Hyundai unveils wacky Blue-Will concept

Hyundai logo27 Mar 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

IT SEEMS there’s no stopping Hyundai’s avalanche of new products, the latest of which appears to be the Korean maker’s first dedicated plug-in hybrid.

Apart from sending a clear signal that it has the world’s biggest car-maker in its sights by filling every existing market segment, Hyundai’s Blue-Will is designed to rival electric cars like GM’s plug-in Volt, due here as a Holden in 2012, and the equally futuristic plug-in version of Toyota’s next-generation Prius, which goes on sale in July.

Of course, while both the Volt and next Prius are a production reality, the Blue-Will is merely a concept that will make its global public debut at the Seoul motor show on April 2.

However, beneath its edgy, flame-surfaced five-door bodyshell lurks the same world-first lithium-ion polymer battery pack that will power the company’s LPG-fuelled Elantra LPI Hybrid, which goes on sale in Korea in July and is under consideration for release in Australia.

1 center imageIn the Blue-Will’s case, the li-ion polymer battery, which Hyundai says will make its first automotive application globally in the Elantra LPI, works in concert with an all-alloy 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine and also employs solar panels mounted in its panoramic roof to help boost the ground-breaking battery’s range.

Between the engine and battery pack, which is packaged with the fuel tank beneath the rear seat, lies a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which, with a powerful 100kW electric motor, completes Hyundai’s proprietary parallel hybrid drive system.

Of course, the Blue-Will also features some obligatory concept car talking points, in this case headlight bezels made from recycled PET soft-drink bottles, interior components produced from PLA plant extracts and an engine cover that was also formed using bio-plastics – this time bio-degradable PLA.

Stand by for further details on Hyundai’s plug-in hybrid when it debuts at Seoul.

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