Los Angeles, California – Hyundai Motor America has announced the launch of its Blue Drive, an environmental initiative which will bring to market a family of eco-friendly products, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Hyundai said that with its Blue Drive products and technologies, it will be able to achieve a fleet average of 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km) by 2015, five years ahead of government requirements.

During its new conference, the company revealed plans for its first U.S.-market gasoline-electric full hybrid, which will be offered in the next-generation Sonata; a new crossover concept powered by a turbocharged gasoline direction injection engine; and it announced future high-mileage editions of the Accent and Elantra.

“Hyundai aims to be the most fuel-efficient automaker on the planet,” said John Krafcik, vice-president, Product Development and Strategic Planning. “We’re aligning our global R&D resources in Michigan, California, Nam Yang, and Frankfurt to develop the Blue Drive technologies we need to achieve our goal, a 35 mpg U.S. fleet average by 2015.”

The heart of the Blue Drive strategy is an all-new, homegrown hybrid architecture which mates the 2.4-litre Theta II engine to a six-speed automatic transmission and a 30 kW electric motor for maximum fuel economy, with an all-electric mode and parallel drive mode. The parallel hybrid drive architecture will serve as the foundation for future hybrid-drive vehicles to be developed by Hyundai, starting with the next-generation Sonata in the United States.

The hybrid system stores its electrical charge in a 270V lithium polymer rechargeable battery that surpasses existing nickel-metal hydride and pending lithium-ion applications, and is more durable and space-efficient than other hybrid batteries, delivering the same power with 30 per cent less weight, 50 per cent less volume and 10 per cent greater efficiency over the current nickel-metal hydride batteries in current hybrids.

The company also announced that the production version of the HED-5 “i-Mode” concept car, unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, has been approved for the U.S., with timing for the four-cylinder crossover to be announced at a later date. The HED-5 concept was shown with an advanced 2.0-litre Theta turbocharged gasoline direct injection four-cylinder engine, capable of developing as much as 285 horsepower and delivering more than 30 highway miles per gallon, which will appear in various Hyundai models in the future.

Next year, Hyundai will introduce high-mileage “Blue” editions of its Accent and Elantra models, which will be priced lower than other models for efficiency and economy. They will include low-rolling-resistance tires, enhanced aerodynamics, revised engine calibrations and reduced final drive ratios.

Hyundai also displayed its Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, which recently completed a 4,300-mile (6,920 km) journey. The company said it is making “good progress” toward meeting its goal of putting a Hyundai Blue Drive Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle into series production as early as 2012.

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