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Hyundai i-flow Concept
With a name like i-flow, it appears that Hyundai's latest concept would be a perfect complement to Apple's iPad.

While Toyota seems to be taking punches left and right from its ongoing recall for unintended acceleration and the resultant grilling on Capitol Hill, South Korea-based Hyundai continues its move upwards. The company has been rising in the quality/durability ranks over the past 10 years and has spent the past year revamping its entire lineup with the Genesis Sedan/Coupe; all-new versions of the Tuscon compact crossover and Sonata midsize sedan; and a new Elantra compact sedan which is coming next year.

Now the company is looking to keep the hits coming with its new i-flow concept. According to Hyundai, the i-flow provides a thinly veiled glimpse at a future European "D-segment" sedan which will do battle with vehicles like the Ford Mondeo.

The i-flow uses a brand new 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine paired with a Hyundai Blue-drive hybrid system. Hyundai has chosen to go with a lithium-polymer battery pack for the i-flow along with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. The use of a [now] traditional dual-clutch transmission is an interesting move considering that many mainstream hybrids like the Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Honda Insight uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to keep the gasoline engine in the optimum rev band to maximize fuel efficiency.

Hyundai says that the i-flow is good for 78.4 mpg on the European cycle.

It is unlikely that the U.S. will see the i-flow in its production form as we are already slated to get a hybrid version of the Hyundai Sonata later this year. However, with Hyundai's dedication to bringing fuel efficient vehicles to the market to meet new fuel economy regulations, it's quite possible that we may see the diesel-hybrid powertrain in future vehicles.

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~62 MPG (US)
By therealnickdanger on 2/25/2010 8:12:20 AM , Rating: 5
Just thought I'd help out, given the typically American readership of this site...

While the car itself looks atrocious, I'm very excited to see how Hyundai integrates this engine into its other offerings. I have a number of friends who have had Hyundais for several years and love them. They're cheap and better-than-expected quality... plus I'm liking their new designs. This will be a good alternative to all the "bluetec" diesels from other more expensive manufacturers.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By marvdmartian on 2/25/2010 8:26:46 AM , Rating: 3
To me, it doesn't look too bad from the front angle, but the back angle (with those tail lights sticking out the way they do) leaves something to be desired.

I wonder how long before automotive design folks finally get rid of outside mirrors, and go with interior lcd screens showing a feed from exterior (flush mount) cameras??

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By therealnickdanger on 2/25/2010 8:25:16 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the opposite, I like the rear end, but not the front. Different strokes, indeed.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By tigz1218 on 2/25/2010 8:39:33 AM , Rating: 5
Thats what she said.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Anoxanmore on 2/25/2010 9:40:57 AM , Rating: 2
The Front end is usually better than the Rear. :P

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By therealnickdanger on 2/25/2010 9:44:02 AM , Rating: 3
Surely you've seen your share of butterfaces...

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Anoxanmore on 2/25/2010 1:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
You take home butter faces? :P

J/King :)

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By therealnickdanger on 2/25/2010 1:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
Indescretions of my youth. :)

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Anoxanmore on 2/25/2010 1:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh, that makes sense. : - )

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Yawgm0th on 2/25/2010 4:57:11 PM , Rating: 3
After 10 or fifteen drinks, who doesn't?

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By ZmaxDP on 2/26/2010 3:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
As my indiscretion fond college room mate once told me, that's what paper bags are for...

Then again, he was an ass to women...

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Hiawa23 on 2/25/2010 10:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
final products usually never look like the concepts...

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Lord 666 on 2/25/2010 12:07:51 PM , Rating: 1
Finally saw a Volt billboard in DC yesterday. Was happy to see the car is getting advertising exposure.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Mojo the Monkey on 2/26/2010 7:06:14 PM , Rating: 3
This is true. I never understood why car companies change the models so drastically from the concepts, particularly those which tend to get people excited and make their jaw drop at car shows.

I understand the need for the final installment of safety equipment and profit-saving design modifications... but many of these factors can be known and accounted for BEFORE the concept is made into prototype.

There are a lot of "meh" looking cars running around today that looked like show-stoppers in concept form.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Gio6518 on 2/25/2010 12:02:44 PM , Rating: 5
While the car itself looks atrocious

What as comparred to a Prius or Insight
dunno i think it looks hot at all angles, its about time we started moving forward in design....if and thats a big if the car looks like this when released i'd buy

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Yawgm0th on 2/25/2010 5:16:27 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. This is a tremendous improvement on the Prius.

IMO, one of the best looking hybrids on the road is the Fusion. The problem is it's not nearly as aerodynamic as some of the Asian hybrids and mileage does suffer for that, especially compared to the Prius.

For ~50mpg, I can't live with the Prius' appearance. For ~62mpg, Diesel or otherwise, I can live with this.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By Samus on 2/26/2010 12:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
Fusion best every other hybrid in its class by around 30%, so to say it's not as 'fuel efficient as the Asian hybrids' is pure bullshit. Even the CRZ, a substantially smaller and lighter vehicle can't compare to the Fusion in city mileage.

The only problem the Fusion has is price. It simply isn't competitive.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/26/2010 11:53:26 AM , Rating: 2
By "class," what do you mean? If by that you mean mid-size sedan, then the Prius beats the Fusion by 25%+ mpg. The Camry is also about $3000 cheaper than the Fusion, and gets high-30's (in my driving, anyway.) I get up to 60 mpg in my Prius in rush hour traffic. Yes, its not the best looking car in the world, but the interior is nice, where I spend the most time. And I am not worried what other people think of my ride (since I have a job and a spouse) =)

Speaking of never gonna get it, Lexus is releasing a cool looking 200H on the European market, too. If that one comes to the US, I will be in the front of the line.

RE: ~62 MPG (US)
By BillyBatson on 2/26/2010 12:40:45 AM , Rating: 2
I 110% agree!! as far as cars go period the new Ford Fusion is a very attractive car and by far the most attractive hybrid on the road along side the Toyota Camry Hybrid because it looks like a normal car that isn't bad. The prius is just fugly.
The above car looks nice but the girl is too large and similar to the new Nissan Maxima front

about damn time
By tastyratz on 2/25/2010 8:26:05 AM , Rating: 5
Diesel + hybrid = only makes sense. Took carmakers long enough - now lets see it in production.

RE: about damn time
By bhieb on 2/25/2010 9:13:46 AM , Rating: 3
My knee jerk reaction is to agree with you. However what would the wear be like on a small diesel like this in power cycling the engine. Usually with diesels you want to keep them running (particularly for the emission standards in big rigs you need a bunch of heat to catalyze the particulates).

It still may be viable, but I see this as one draw back of the diesel hybrid concept. There is wear on a gas engine too, but not nearly as much. So when the gas hybrid turns off the engine at the stop light would the diesel need to leave it running? And how would that impact it's effectiveness?

RE: about damn time
By mrzed on 2/25/2010 12:46:55 PM , Rating: 2
Do you drive a diesel? That is one of those myths that no longer really apply to light duty diesel engines. The VW Polo tdi already has stop-start technology implemented.

A big lump of iron in a diesel engine will not cool down enough at a stoplight to matter.

Drives me nuts that so many people think they need to warm up their cars. Fine for my relatives in Edmonton where it gets to -30c regularly, but even then the block heater should do the trick. I drive an older (1993) Passat diesel, and we never warm up the car beyond a few seconds waiting for the idle to settle. Driving moderately for the first couple minutes does the trick just fine.

RE: about damn time
By mmntech on 2/25/2010 12:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
Diesel has come a long way though and most engines are equipped with glow plugs. I drive around GMC Savanah 2500 light trucks at work and they never have an issue starting, unless it's really cold. It's only the C4500s that complain.

I would think this doesn't use start/stop technology at all. I didn't read into it though. However, couldn't you have this technology work like a diesel locomotive? Run the diesel engine constantly at a low RPM. Then use a flywheel/gearbox to drive a generator. So the generator is feeding energy constantly to the batter pack/motor. Similar to how the Chevy Volt works. Gives you on demand power.

RE: about damn time
By lagomorpha on 2/28/2010 7:17:20 AM , Rating: 2
That's not how diesel locomotives work. In locomotives there's no battery, the electricity produced goes straight to the traction motors so your engine isn't constantly at the same speed. Battery packs to drive a train even with modern technology would be absurdly expensive, much less 1930s era battery tech (and diesel-electric trains have been around that long).

Interesting note: Trains have something called "dynamic braking" which is sort of like regenerative breaking but instead of sending the electricity generated to a battery it goes to a giant bank of resistors. The train's engine is geared to cooling fans to keep the resistors from melting which is why sometimes trains sound like they're at full throttle when braking. The system saves a lot of money by making the friction material in the conventional brakes last much longer.

RE: about damn time
By Lord 666 on 2/25/2010 1:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
Its great to see a 1993 TDI Passat still on the road. How many miles?

I purchased my 2006 Jetta TDI (US spec) in hopes it would last minimum of 10 years. Currently have 81,500 miles on the clock and it did well after driving 450 miles yesterday. Have already told my five year old it could be her first car...

RE: about damn time
By bhieb on 2/26/2010 5:54:46 PM , Rating: 2
Cool that is why I asked about the smaller ones. No I don't drive one, but I do work for a trucking company. Those are whole different beasts though.

There is a particulate filter in the exhaust that has to be at a set temp to burn off the particles to meet emissions. Plus a mess of other things. I figured the smaller ones did not have that issue, just did not know.

RE: about damn time
By porkpie on 2/25/2010 2:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
"Usually with diesels you want to keep them running ..."

A diesel engine running a serial hybrid will do just extended periods of time at a fixed rpm range, to charge a battery pack. The efficiency here should be substantially higher than a normal diesel engine, which must not only be larger, but must operate over a much wider rpm range.

RE: about damn time
By porkpie on 2/25/2010 2:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
"Usually with diesels you want to keep them running ..."

A diesel engine running a serial hybrid will do just extended periods of time at a fixed rpm range, to charge a battery pack. The efficiency here should be substantially higher than a normal diesel engine, which must not only be larger, but must operate over a much wider rpm range.

RE: about damn time
By forgotmypassword on 2/25/2010 2:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
Hyundai already tried diesel engine in Sonata and if I remember correctly it really sucked. What I'm saying is that so far Hyundai have not got plain diesel right and we are yet to see Hyundai hybrid. Hyundai diesel hybrid may be the worst of two worlds.

RE: about damn time
By Navvie0 on 3/1/2010 5:19:09 AM , Rating: 2
In the UK Hyundai offer several flavours of diesel engine, and they are perhaps not a refined as Ford's but they far from sucking IME.

Doesn't Seem Like That Big of an Improvement...
By MojoMan on 2/25/2010 11:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe someone that knows more about this technology can make more sense of this, but 62MPG doesn't seem to great in light of current technologies. Here's an example of what clean diesel is already doing:

I have a local car dealer with similar numbers posted all over the place. Does anybody have any comments on whether I'm thinking correctly about this or not? This concept car just doesn't seem like that much of a revolutionary concept. Cool looking drawings though.

By Brandon Hill on 2/25/2010 11:13:14 AM , Rating: 2
The Jetta is a compact sedan (same for the Golf/Rabbit). The Sonata and this i-flow are larger midsize vehicles. That plays a big difference in fuel economy.

So 62 mpg from a midsize vehicle is pretty damn impressive IMHO.

By Yawgm0th on 2/25/2010 5:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention we're talking about 62mpg as a realistic number, not ideal-condition extreme hypermiling.

Besides, that leaderboard does the opposite of making this look like a meager accomplishment. I'd say it blows away everything but the top five slots, which is dually impressive given the size difference.

By MojoMan on 2/26/2010 8:25:52 AM , Rating: 2
OK. That makes sense. Thanks for input guys!

By aguilpa1 on 2/25/2010 10:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
Yet another cool design mock up that in the end gets sliced and diced into an econobox with some extra plastic thingies stuck on it to give the "illusion" of the original..., so sad.

By lelias2k on 2/25/2010 2:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
Good design doesn't necessary sells. Especially when you go to car clinics and finds out that the target customer for many of these cars is not your edgy teenager, but the family guy in his 30s/40s.

Taste is very subjective, and the great population in general has none. Just go out on the streets and look at how ppl dress...

On top of all that, you have to be realistic about the practicality of the design. Certain ideas simply don't work on the real world.

All that said, I love the design.

By Smilin on 2/25/2010 10:10:23 AM , Rating: 2
The front looks like it was an 80 year old that got a facelift until it had the wrinkles of a 20 year old.

And here's a tip:
Don't flare out the wheel wells unless you're going to put something bigger than 15" wheels in there. (I'm looking at you Celica).

By clovell on 2/25/2010 10:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
> The use of a [now] traditional dual-clutch transmission is an interesting move considering that many mainstream hybrids like the Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Honda Insight uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to keep the gasoline engine in the optimum rev band to maximize fuel efficiency.

I'm not too surprised by it. First - we don't even know for sure if it's using a parallel design rather than a series design. Second, it's a diesel - it has a completely different ingition method, cycle, and powerband. Thus, even a parallel design could make decent use when coupled to a 6-speed.

It'll be interesting to watch. Hyundai is late to the hybrid party, but if they can break into the market with a competitive tech featuring a trditional tranny, they make a strong case for heavier hybrid commercial vehicles that need something with more beef than a CVT.

European MPG?
By twhittet on 2/25/2010 10:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
good for 78.4 mpg on the European cycle.

What exactly does that mean compared to EPA standards?

By metaltoiletry on 2/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: iflow?
By cocoman on 2/25/2010 10:05:51 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, we all read that in the begining of the article. Its not funny anymore.

RE: iflow?
By metaltoiletry on 2/25/2010 12:35:11 PM , Rating: 2

I just got ... so excited.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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