Hyundai has unveiled a new concept car at the
2011 Soul Motor Show that is called Blue
2. The car is a mid-size sedan that offers some hints at the future
blueprint for mid-size sedans from Hyundai.
The car is a FCEV or a Fuel Cell Electric
Vehicle that is powered by hydrogen and is an attempt by Hyundai to capture
some leadership for the emerging fuel cell vehicle market. There are some huge
hurdles for FCEVs though, namely an infrastructure around the world for
producing and distributing hydrogen.
Hyundai notes that the Blue 2 concept has a stack
power of 90kW and a fuel economy of 34.9km/L. The car has special
low-resistance tires and light alloy wheels to reduce weight and help extend
the driving range of the car. The concept has LED screen panels on the exterior
of the car that allow the driver to see the vehicles status located on the
front and rear. The car also has a welcome system that recognizes the driver
and automatically opens the door.
The concept has no side mirrors, using cameras on
the sides mounted on the roof allowing the driver to see behind the car. The
dash of the car uses OLED panels rather than normal gauges. While Hyundai is
showing off its new concept car, a few details on the production hybrids from
Hyundai and Kia have surfaced at Wards Auto.
In other Hyundai news, Wards Auto reports that the Hyundai
Sonata hybrids have been promised for delivery to the U.S. in
later-April. The car has been officially on sale since December of 2010, but
few dealers have actually been able to get the cars in stock. Hyundai reports
that the delay in
delivery was to give the automaker time to remove a switch that
was integrated into the vehicles that allowed the driver to disable a warning
system that makes noise to alert blind pedestrians.
notes that the car has been criticized by reviewers for having real world fuel
economy that is much lower than the published EPA ratings. Hyundai spokesman
Jim Trainor says, "The slow rollout has nothing to do with some of the
early results that folks got."
“Even with the early prototypes that were making
the rounds last fall (in California), many media got well over 40 mpg on the
drive,” Trainor says, adding “production units will be better.”
While the Sonata Hybrid is being promised by the
end of the month, its kissing cousin --the Kia
Optima Hybrid -- has been set to go on sale in the U.S. in Q2 rather than
the January 2011 launch that Kia originally planned.