Hyundai Unveils BLUE-WILL Plug-In Hybrid Concept
Latest in the continuing strain of high-profile, low-emissions Hyundai concept vehicles is the new HND-4 BLUE-WILL, a unique take on a five-door crossover of tomorrow. A star of the Seoul Motor Show, it embodies a number of elements that the Korean automaker plans to incorporate into is upcoming mass-production plug-in hydrid models. The one-off BLUE-WILL's eco-friendly character starts with its bodywork. Beyond dramatic styling, a number of panels are made from bio-plastics that are derived from plant rather than petroleum-based materials. The BLUE-WILL's headlamp bezels are made from reprocessed soft drink bottles and its panorama roof design integrates a series of dye-sensitized solar cells that can generate additional electricity to help operate cooling fans on hot days or replenish its battery pack without blocking out ambient light. Inside, the ultramodern interior design replaces the standard gauges with a slick Transparent Organic Light Emitting Diode (TOLED) high-resolution display mounted on the steering column and uses a touch screen on the center console to control the audio/climate functions. As one would expect, Hyundai also included a dedicated "Eco-Coach" graphic display which helps promote fuel-saving driving habits by monitoring fuel consumption and driving efficiency in real time.
Under the BLUE-WILL's hood is a 1.6-liter direct-injected four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor that produces a combined 152 horsepower. The motor draws power from an advanced Lithium-ion polymer battery pack that was developed by Hyundai. The pack is positioned adjacent to the conventional fuel tank under the aft floor area to maximize available storage space with the rear seats in the upright or folded position. In addition to gathering up energy via conventional regenerative braking, the BLUE-WILL setup employs unique thermal generating circuitry that converts heat from the exhaust manifold into usable electricity. Hyundai says the BLUE-WILL is configured to travel up to 38 miles on pure electric power alone and should net about 50-55 mpg in pure Hybrid Electric Mode and up to 106 mpg in its range-maxing "blended" mode that factors in both charge-sustaining and all-electric operation.
A production variation on the BLUE-WILL theme is expected to join the Hyundai lineup here in the U.S. by late 2012 and will take direct aim at cars like the Chevrolet Volt and upcoming plug-in Prius.