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Sydney show: Hyundai plugs in

Green to the core: The Blue-Will features recycled bottles, bio-degradable plant extracts and bio-plastics in its construction.

Blue-Will plug-in hybrid concept surfaces in Sydney alongside MY11 Hyundais

15 Oct 2010

WE SAW it at the 2009 Seoul motor show in Korea and now Hyundai has staged the Australian debut of its futuristic Blue-Will plug-in hybrid concept at this morning’s Sydney motor show.

Hyundai’s first dedicated plug-in petrol-electric vehicle took centre stage alongside the upgraded 2011 model year i20, i30, ix35 and i45 models the company announced last week.

It is conceptually similar to the Chevrolet Volt, which was launched this month in the US and will go on sale in Australia as a Holden in 2012, and Toyota’s Prius Plug-In, which is currently undergoing global field trials.

Underneath the Blue-Will’s striking wedge-shaped five-door hatchback body, which features bold intersecting bodyside feature lines, is the same world-first lithium-ion polymer battery pack that powers the LPG-fuelled Elantra LPI Hybrid sedan that went on sale in Korea in July 2009 but will not be released here.

1 center imageFrom top: Hyundai i30cw, Hyundai i20, Hyundai ix35, Hyundai i45.

That could change if Hyundai produces an LPI Hybrid version of the next-generation Elantra (known as the Avante in Korea), which has been confirmed for local release in the second quarter of next year, potentially badged as the i35.

In the case of the Blue-Will concept, however, instead of an LPG engine, the electric motor is matched with Hyundai’s all-alloy 113kW 1.6-litre direct-injection GDI petrol engine.

It also employs solar panels mounted in its panoramic roof to trickle-charge a cabin cooling fan that, like the Prius, can cool the cabin while the vehicle is parked.

There is also a thermal generator within the exhaust manifold, which converts heat into electrical energy to help power auxiliary systems, while low rolling resistance tyres and low-drag brakes are also fitted.

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

While the Blue-Will is claimed to return average fuel consumption of just 2.2L/100km and deliver an electric-only driving range of up to 64km (about the same as the Volt), the same ‘Hybrid Blue Drive Architecture’ powers the Sonata (i45) Hybrid that was designed for the US but is also under consideration for Australian release.

Blue-Will also features a number of other environmentally friendly elements, such as headlight bezels made from recycled PET soft-drink bottles, interior components produced from bio-degradable plant extracts and an engine cover that was also formed using bio-plastics.

As the fourth concept to emerge from Hyundai’s Namyang Design Centre, Blue-Will is codenamed HND-4.

Hyundai says it targets “30 to 40-something single urbanites and young families”, so it also features a rear bike rack integrated into its bootlid, a hi-tech colour touch-screen to operate climate, infotainment and drive mode systems, Bluetooth-enabled speakers and a graphic continuous fuel consumption display called Eco-Coach designed to encourage fuel-efficient driving habits.

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