Until battery capacity and charging technology improves, pure electric cars are likely to be limited in their appeal. For now, the best solution appears to be that implemented by Chevrolet in the Volt and by Fisker in the Karma: use batteries, but back them up with a range-extending, gasoline-powered generator.

Hyundai believes this is the right approach as well, so its i-oniq concept blends a lithium-ion-battery-powered 107-horsepower electric motor with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that acts as a generator. In battery mode, the i-oniq is said to have a range of 75 miles, but with the generator the total range is increased to 435 miles.

The concept represents the evolution of Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design. The familiar hexagonal grille is present, but the fascia surrounding it has softened. The steeply-raked windshield is there, but the character lines have been toned down.

Muscular front fenders seem to borrow from Infiniti’s design language, and we suppose that’s no coincidence. While Hyundai’s designers call the i-oniq a “sports hatchback,” it somehow manages to look like both a sport coupe and a three-quarter-scale shooting brake at the same time. Love it or hate it, the design is innovative.

Will Hyundai build the i-oniq concept? We’re not sure, but you can expect to see elements of the car’s design in future Hyundai models.

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