What is it? This concept sedan, about the size of a Hyundai Elantra, is Hyundais first go at a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Its 100-kW electric motor is mated with a 152-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder gas engine with gasoline direct injection, and the car can be directly powered by either or both, depending on the driving conditions. When fully charged, Hyundai cites a range of 40 miles on electric power alone, so we expect the lithium-ion-polymer battery holds about 16 kWh of juice. After that its normal hybrid mode kicks in. Battery recharging is aided by regenerative braking and by roof-mounted solar panels.
What is new or notable? The Blue-Will uses an innovative thermal electric generator, which captures wasted engine-heat energy in the form of exhaust gases and converts it into electrical energy for powering auxiliary systems.
CR's take: Almost all the major automakers are developing plug-in hybrids to meet upcoming fuel economy regulations and CO2 limits. The Sonata Hybrid, due later this year, is expected to use a similar gas-electric powertrain, but with a 30-kW motor and without the plug-in capability.