Here come the hybrids
From mild to plug-in, hybrid cars are set to become a much bigger part of Hyundai's business, and according to company executives, Hyundai should be about 20 percent hybrid by 2020.
While the Sonata hybrid will be Hyundai's first hybrid, it won't be its marquee hybrid. Instead, like Toyota, Hyundai will also develop dedicated hybrid cars, with the first coming in 2012.
With its lithium-polymer battery technology, Hyundai believes that it's first hybrids will be more fuel efficient than the competition, while offering more space for both passengers and cargo. Of course, using lithium also means that Hyundai's batteries will also cost more than the competition.
Will this mean higher sticker prices? For now, Hyundai isn't commenting on pricing.
Interestingly, while Hyundai is embracing lithium technology for hybrids sooner than most of the competition, the automaker is still not bullish on pure electric vehicles, although plug-in hybrids will be part of the Hyundai hybrid portfolio. Because of limited range and expense, Hyundai believes that consumers won't accept pure battery powered vehicles.
“We’d need seven times the level of performance at 20 times less price,” stated Woon-Chul Yang, president of Hyundai’s R&D operations recently.