|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.