Chosun Ilbo. Hyundai Motor will introduce a hybrid version of its mid-size Avante sedan (the domestic counterpart to the Elantra) in Korea in 2009 that combines its Liquefied Petroleum Injection (LPI) engine with an electric motor. It will be the first Korean hybrid car for consumers.
|The 2007 Avante.|
At the Seoul Auto Show in April, Hyundai had on display a Sonata LPI Hybrid Electric Vehicle. (Earlier post.)
The hybrid will have estimated fuel economy of 19 to 20 km/liter (5.3 to 5.0 L/100km or 44.7 to 47 mpg US).
|Air pollution in Seoul vs. other cities. Click to enlarge.|
In an effort to combat air pollution, particularly in Seoul, the Korean government launched a multi-pronged program, including the accelerated adoption of emissions standards, and a focus on providing incentives for alternative fuels.
As one result of that program, LPG is half the price of gasoline—the ratio of the price of gasoline:diesel:LPG is 100:85:50. There are currently more than 1.5 million LPG light-duty vehicles on the road in Korea, with an infrastructure to support them, according to the Korea Center for Environmentally Friendly Vehicles. Hyundai deployed its first LPI engine in the New Grandeur XG in 2003.
Hyundai said that it will suspend the limited production of the hybrid versions of the Verna and the Pride, which are being used in government fleets, in 2008.
“We plan to release an LPG hybrid before a gasoline hybrid because there are sufficient LPG fuel facilities and we have the advanced technology. A gasoline hybrid will be released by 2010,” a Hyundai Motor official said.
Hyundai said that it will begin mass producing hybrids in 2009, with an aim to gradually increase production to 20,000 units by 2010, 100,000 by 2012, and 300,000 by 2015.