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Hyundai Blue-Will Plug-in Hybrid Concept Presages Future Production PHEVs

The Blue-Will PHEV concept. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai brought its Blue-Will plug-in hybrid (PHEV) concept—first introduced at the 2009 Seoul Motor Show (earlier post)—to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit for its US debut.

Blue-Will serves as a test bed of new ideas that range from roof-mounted solar cells to drive-by-wire steering, lithium polymer batteries and touch-screen controls, and foreshadows future hybrid production vehicles from Hyundai. Blue-Will promises an electric-only driving distance of up to 40 miles on a single charge and a fuel economy rating of up to 106 mpg US (2.2 L/100km). Codenamed HND-4, the Blue-Will is the fourth in a series of innovative concept vehicles to come out of the Namyang Design Center.

The Blue-Will concept is powered by an all-aluminum 152 hp (113 kW) Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) 1.6-liter engine mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). A 100 kW electric motor is at the heart of Hyundai’s proprietary parallel hybrid drive architecture. The wheels are turned by power coming directly from the gasoline engine, the electric motor, or both together, as conditions demand.

Fuel economy for the Blue-Will in charge sustaining mode (regular hybrid mode) is projected to be 50-55 mpg US (4.7-4.3 L/100km). Hyundai says that vehicle range is 652 miles (1,049 km).

This parallel hybrid drive architecture serves as the foundation for future Hyundai hybrids, starting with the 2011 BlueDrive Sonata hybrid coming later this year in the US. (Earlier post.)

For maximum luggage space, the fuel tank is located under the rear seat where it is bundled alongside the lithium polymer battery (cells from LG Chem) that can be recharged using household current.

Hyundai was the first automaker in the world to apply lithium polymer batteries in a mass production vehicle this July, when the Elantra LPI Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) went on sale in Korea. This battery technology will also power Hyundai’s 2011 Sonata BlueDrive hybrid.

The panoramic glass roof integrates dye-sensitized solar cells without impeding visibility. The solar cells provide a trickle charge that helps operate a cabin cooling fan, reducing interior temperatures while the car is parked in the sun.

Energy from hot exhaust gases is recaptured by a thermoelectric generator (TEG) which is fitted into the exhaust manifold. The TEG then converts the heat into electrical energy to help power auxiliary systems. Efficiencies are further improved by low-rolling resistance tires and low-drag brakes, where special attention has been paid to the engineering of the brake pads and calipers.



Beautiful design. Rumors are that the price tag may be as low as $30K. The Sonata PHEV could turn out to be an ideal family car.

Hyundai will seriously compete with GM's Volt, both in design-performance and certainly price wise.

More PHEVs are welcomed to reduce liquid fuel consumption and pollution. An interesting decade ahead.

Will S

Looks like it's carving a niche in the space of both the Volt and the Prius PHEV.

106mpg is meaningless without a standard driving profile; the mpg when the battery pack is drained is the effective gasoline mpg.


For PHEVs they should say:

40 miles at 5 miles per kWh, then 50 mpg on gasoline.


Miles per kWh makes sense. Somehow they need to make a consistent measurement so that the consumer is given accurate information as a basis for comparison. Some statements in the media say more than 200 mpg for the Chevy Volt.


PHEVs mpg could vary from 50 on long trips to infinity depending on usage. Going to work 15 to 20 miles from home may not use any fuel.

A set of assumptions will have to be used to arrive at mpg figure. It will only be correct if you fit exactly into the assumptions made.


If 100,000 BTUs of liquid fuel can take you 40 miles and 100,000 BTUs at the power plant can give you 10 kWh to get you 50 miles, it is not hard to equate the two.



OK as far as energy consumption is concern. Well designed ultra light BEVS with in-wheel motors could potentially be the most efficient vehicles.

How about on-board liquid fuel consumption for PHEVs?


Right now we have a case by case inaccurate comparison. If I drive less than 40 miles per day, I can claim very high numbers. If someone else commutes 80 miles per day, those numbers are lower. Energy costs, whether gasoline or electricity. It takes resources to make both and phony accounting will not help to clarify the issue...just the opposite.


SJC: I agree with you. Some standard way has to be developed to arrive at mph (or equivalent) for various PHEVs under various driving conditions.

Is mpg the proper measuring tool? Since most vehicles are to be electrified during the next 2 decades,
wouldn't Wh/Km (or equivalent) be more appropriate? Gallons (USA)of liquid fuels and miles will become meaningless.

Henry Gibson

The auto companies insist upon appealing to the market for 4000 horse power locomotives instead of economically operated, ecology friendy transportation. One hundred kilowatts used by an electric motor would deplete a 40 mile battery (8kWh) in less than five minutes. A 112 kilowatt gasoline engine would use up ten gallons of gasoline in 40 minutes at full power and a high 20 percent thermal efficiency. The advertsed power is obviously far in excess of what will be delivered on a regular basis. Car manufactures should now be required to state what the average horsepower will be during a standard driving cycle.

I will leave it up to another reader to calculate how fast this car could be pulled up the elevator shaft of the highest building in the world if it were pulled by a cable winch with 213 kilowatts available. Ignore the weight of the cable. You will need to find the weight of the car.

A plug-in-hybrid car would be sufficiently served with a range extending engine of 20 kilowatts and probably half that.

CALCARS and others estimate the use of about 200 watt hours per mile in a Prius, so travel at 30 miles an hour average requires 6 kilowatts or 8 horsepower.

To avoid the pretense of reducing energy consumtion in California, the CARB must imposed the unconstitutional requirement that all people buy and operate efficient small cars and houses. A horse-power and square-foot and kilowatt hour cap and trade program can be instituted to promote the already existing inequalities of homes and automobiles. Rich people could by allotments for their hummers and mansions from the homeless. ..HG..

Henry Gibson

The solar cell roof is just pretense that make un informed people believe that solar cells are useful in cars to mislead them into believing that this is an energy efficient automobile and to falsly believe that solar cell energy is economical in general. ..HG..

Buy not by from homeless



Disparities between rich and poor will always exist.

We cannot stop rich people from driving very large vehicles and living in 30-rooms mansions. All we can do is have them pay more for it. Non-linear vehicle registration fees (like and extra $1/lb or $2/lb above 2000 lbs or so) + non-linear energy price for large resisidences (like an extra $0.10 to $0.25 per Kwh or equivalent over that used by an average 5-room house) could generate extra revenues to help the homeless and pay some of the current huge deficits. The $$$B in bonus currently given to bankers and associates could be taxed more to refund every cent they got from the government and more.

About half the USA population will always be be against any program to better share the wealth because they all want to be in the wealthy group one day.

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