## Hyundai Begins Taking Pre-Launch Orders for Elantra LPI Hybrid

##### 17 June 2009
 Elantra LPI Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, has begun taking pre-launch orders for its Elantra LPI Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), its first hybrid vehicle for commercial sale. (Earlier post.)

Hyundai will accept pre-launch orders until 7 July, a day before it officially introduces the car in the Korea domestic market. The car, which is the world’s first hybrid electric vehicle to be powered by a Liquefied Petroleum Injected (LPI) engine, was first unveiled at the 2009 Seoul Motor Show in April.

Powered by an LPI Gamma engine displacing 1.6 liters; a 15 kW (105 Nm) pancake type Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor; and a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), the Elantra LPI HEV emits 99 g/km of CO2 and 90% fewer emissions than an equivalent standard gasoline-powered Elantra. It qualifies as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV).

The Elantra LPI Hybrid is a mild-hybrid with a fuel economy rating of 17.8 km/l (5.6 L/100km or 42 mpg US); gasoline-equivalent fuel economy is 22.2 km/l (4.5 L/100km, 51 mpg US). This represents a 47% improvement over a conventional 1.6L Elantra.

The Elantra LPI Hybrid energy storage systems uses a 180V, 5.3 Ah lithium-ion polymer battery (LIPB) pack (with cells from LG Chem) with forced air cooling. The cells uses a Mn-spinel cathode material, amorphous carbon anode and ceramic-coated separator.

Among the benefits of the battery, Hyundai says, are 65% more power density; 15% more energy density; 12% more energy efficiency; and 43% better state-of-charge estimation. More accurate SOC estimation makes it possible to expand the real operating SOC range, with a more diversified HEV driving strategy and improved cycle life.

The technology and all key components in the LPI HEV have been developed by Hyundai and its local partners including the motor, battery and low DC/DC converter.

It sounds good - especially the emissions figures - it would be great if all taxis were of this type - for city centre pollution.

However, it seems that people want hybrids to be different cars from ordinary models - they want the "green glow" that comes from driving a Prius or an Insight. Note the way the Honda civic hybrid was a flop, while the Prius and Insight were successes.

People who buy hybrids are not so much doing it for the fuel savings as to be "seen" to be good (or washing their clean linen in public) as Oscar Wilde would have said.

Hence, they need a different car to succeed.

It sounds like they did a really good job at Hyundai. LPG is about half the price of gasoline so it should sell well if the price is right. So what is the price of the hybrid and the non hybrid version?

mahonj,

When I bought our 2008 Prius the Toyota dealer had 6 or 7 cars on the lot. I wanted to test drive a Civic Hybrid, but the dealer down the street had exactly zero cars available. I drove the non-hybrid Civic and the Accord, and liked them both. And I was actually leaning towards the Civic Hybrid, even considering the compromise on the trunk space of the "adapted model." But you can't sell cars if you don't first make them.

Hey Hyundai, how about a cheap, lightweight Accent that uses that high efficiency LPG engine mated to the CVT tranny without all the hybrid powertrain excess technology. It would probably get close to 50 mpg. It could be the ultimate US commuter car. Fill it up where you fill up your barbeque can and drive for half the price of gasoline! You'd sell a ton of them. LPG is clean fuel, you'd also cut oil changes and maintenance in half and probably double longevity.

A few years ago, Ford said that they could not build more Escape hybrids because they could not get more battery packs. Then and now, I think they were buying them from Sanyo. Why they could not get them from Panasonic or someone else I do not know. That could have been just an excuse, but they build less than 30k units per year compared to Toyota and Honda that build many more. This is another illustration of not being able to sell them if you do not build them.

Ummm... I get it that lpg is much cleaner than gas but doesn't it suffer from the 'it's a finite resource' just like oil. If you use up all the LPG in cars, what am I going to use for my grill!

As I recall, LPG is a product of natural gas production. It is the propane that they remove before they put the natural gas in the pipeline. There is only so much of it and supplying BBQ grills is one thing, but supplying a million cars is another.

LPG is derived from fossil fuel sources. It can be synthesised by refining petroleum, being manufactured during the refining of crude oil, or condensed out of 'wet' natural gas. Sometimes it's extracted from the oil or gas streams as they emerge from the ground.

"Most propane (also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG) consumed in the United States is domestically produced. It is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, with approximately equal amounts of production derived from each of these sources...It accounts for about 2% of the energy used in the United States."

"Propane is a gas at normal temperatures and pressures. It is stored onboard a vehicle in a tank pressurized to around 300 pounds per square inch—about twice the pressure as in an inflated truck tire. Under this pressure, propane becomes a liquid with an energy density 270 times greater than the gaseous form. A gallon of propane has about 25% less energy than a gallon of gasoline."

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels/propane_alternative.html

So, it sounds like massively increasing LPG supplies for 200 million vehicles could be a problem.

All,

Ok, I'm really not sure that Hyundai is talking about liquid propane here. Their parlance is Liquid Petroleum Injection. Petroleum is not the same as Propane. I get the feeling LPI is just Hyundai's phase for Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI). Anyone else agree, disagree, did I miss the obvious in this article (won't be the first time, and as I get older, sure as heck won't be the last...)

Peace,
Cosmo

All,

Ignore last comment. Didn't realize that Propane was called Liquefied Petroleum when used a fuel for vehicles. My bad.

Peace,
Cosmo

"gasoline-equivalent fuel economy"

From the previous post:

"The LPI engine uses direct injection.."

"The Elantra LPI HEV promises to be as much as 40% cheaper to operate than other competitor models in the marketplace and 50%less than a conventional Elantra model powered by a gasoline-only engine.

Calculations are based on Korean domestic retail price of 1,907.08 KRW per liter of gasoline (US$7.03/gallon US) and LPG price of 1,828.65 KRW (US$1.78) per kilogram as of the first week of June.

LPG has about 73% of the energy content of gasoline: 84,950 Btu/gal vs. 116,090 Btu/gal, LHV, according to the US Department of Energy."

"51 mpg US "
Wow! mild hybrid but a lot of promise.

"The LPI engine uses direct injection. An electronic control unit (ECU) receives signals from various sensors, determines the engine state, and controls the fuel pump, injector, and ignition coil to ensure an optimal air-fuel ratio, improved engine performance and lower emissions.."

Propane has 104 octane, so it sounds like direct injection and careful management get quite a bit from this engine. I would imagine that it is light also.

LPG has about 84 000 BTU per gallon versus 114 000 BTU per gallon of regular gasoline. Price comparison between gasoline and LPG should be corrected for lower calorific value: one gallon of gasoline will drive you as far as 1.35 gallon of LPG.

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