FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA – Hyundai's promised to put a hybrid subcompact, a hybrid mid-size, and a plug-in competitor to the Chevrolet Volt on the road within five years. There's even some speculation at least one of them could be stamped "Made in the USA," according to wired.com.
Hyundai's launching a partnership with Korean companies LG Chem, SK Energy, and SB LiMotive to develop the batteries its cars will need if they're to start hitting the road by 2010 as promised. The Japanese dominate battery tech these days, but Hyundai says the Koreans could catch up by 2013 — at which point the company hopes to put a plug-in hybrid on the road. Korean automakers are spending nearly $1 billion on battery tech, and the government has kicked in $40 million.
The first of the Hyundais to use that technology will be in November.
John Krafcik, Hyundai's VP of product development, announced the new Sonata hybrid will make its debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November and could be on the road by 2010. It'll use a lithium-ion battery, making it the first partially-electric Sonata since Switched-On Bach.
Another hybrid Hyundai in the works — a propane-electric hybrid based on the Avante (known here in the states as the Elantra) — promises 37.9 miles per gallon. The subcompact could be on the road as early as next year.
Early signs suggest the Sonata hybrid will be made in America.