Hyundai To Launch Avante Hybrid in 2009
Hyundai has announced that it will launch its first mass-produced hybrid, based on the home-market Avante, in the second half of 2009. A hybrid version of the midsize Sonata sedan is due in 2010.
Hyundai's sister brand, Kia, also is preparing new hybrid models, including gas/electric variants of the new Mohave utility vehicle (to be sold in the U.S. as the Borrego) and the Lotze (Optima) sedan, by 2010.
The hybrid Avante (sold in most overseas markets as the Elantra) is designed to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which should help reduce exhaust emissions. The hybrid Sonata, however, is expected to use standard gasoline.
Hyundai previously has built several thousand hybrid prototypes, primarily for testing in government fleets, including versions of the Verna (Accent) and Click (Getz) compacts.
The automaker said it hopes to begin mass production of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2012.