Where there's a will, there's a way. At least that's what Hyundai is hoping when it comes to pulling green consumers from the grasps of the Toyota Prius.
Hyundai Blue-Will plug-in hybrid concept, Seoul Motor Show, April 2009
With the introduction of the 2012 Hyundai Accent at the New York Auto Show last week, Hyundai now has four current and future models that boast 40 mpg on the highway, assuming the EPA agrees with Hyundai's 40 mpg 2012 Accent estimate. The other models are the 2011 Elantra, 2011 Sonata Hybrid and the 2012 Veloster. Over the next several years, Hyundai plans to beef up its 40-mpg fleet, introducing two additional cars with that level of efficiency. The two cars will be steps toward a fleet average of 50 mpg by 2025. Hyundai briefly touched upon these plans in New York this week.
The first 40-mpg model that Hyundai is working on is aimed at the Toyota Prius. That model will be based on the Blue-Will plug-in concept from the 2009 Seoul Motor Show, a concept that featured a 1.6-liter GDI engine, like the 2012 Accent. That engine was paired with a 100 kW electric motor and lithium-ion polymer battery pack. Seeing that the 1.6-liter GDI gives the new Accent a 30 mpg city/40 mpg highway estimate, it should be plenty efficient when combined with an electric motor.
Hyundai did not confirm any specific details on the production Blue-Will. It also stopped short of giving away any details on the second 40-mpg offering that it plans to add to its line, though it implied that it will be a gas model as opposed to a hybrid.
The Blue-Will was a sporty hatchback with the feel of an aggressively styled Veloster. Hyundai will no doubt tone the model down significantly, removing some of the excess glass elements and refining the front fascia. Hopefully we'll see what they come up with at an auto show in the near future.