At last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show Hyundai rolled out a concept version of its Sonata sedan fitted with the company’s new ‘Blue Drive’ hybrid powertrain. Blue Drive is actually a new branding for Hyundai’s future range of eco-friendly models and will encompass everything from hybrids, to flex-fuel models and even aerodynamically-enhanced diesels.

Hyundai has been relatively quiet on its plans for its upcoming hybrid but the company’s R&D chief Woong-chul Yang has now revealed some important details about it. Speaking with Automotive News, Yang confirmed the vehicle will be Hyundai’s first petrol-electric hybrid when it launches in the U.S. in October next year. Yang also revealed that despite being based on the Sonata the hybrid will get its own distinctive styling and possibly its own unique name as well. “People who drive a hybrid like to be differentiated," he explained – something that has been proven time and time again with the Toyota Prius.

It will feature a 2.4L petrol engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and 40hp (30kW) electric motor running on lithium-polymer battery technology. The hybrid set-up will be able to run on electric power alone for short distances but most of the time it will utilize both the electric motor and internal combustion engine.

Before the launch of the Sonata-based hybrid, Hyundai will have an Elantra hybrid already on sale in South Korea. It will be capable of running on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and is expected to hit showrooms towards the end of this year. Unfortunately, availability will be extremely limited and there are no plans to sell yet to launch it in other markets.