The i-blue sub-brand is Hyundai’s grouping of specially designed eco-friendly models, enhanced to offer improved fuel economy and lower emissions than their standard equivalents. At last month’s Paris Motor Show, Hyundai showed off new i-blue versions of its i20 compact and before that it showcased an i-blue i30 model – both of which have been designed for the European market.
For the North American market, Hyundai is calling the initiative ‘Blue Drive’ and with it the company plans to launch a new range of eco-friendly vehicles that will bring its fleet average fuel economy levels to the all-important 35mpg mark by as early as 2015.
One of the first, unveiled today in Los Angeles, will be a new hybrid version of the Sonata sedan, which is due for launch in 2010. It will use a parallel-hybrid drive system, featuring a 2.4L petrol engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and 30kW electric motor running on lithium-polymer battery technology.
Other plans include the introduction of a new range of turbocharged engines with direct injection technology, as well as the launch of high-efficiency editions of the Accent and Elantra. Another new model pegged for the North American market is a production version of the HED-5 i-Mode crossover, which will eventually come to market with a 286hp (213kW) engine and a fuel economy rating of around 30mpg.
The company also featured its proprietary fuel cell technology today, highlighting its Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) as part of its sustainability effort. The vehicle recently conducted a 13-day cross-country trip in the U.S., covering more than 3,400 miles and driving up to 185 miles between stops to fill up its hydrogen tank.