It’s your big Korea move
Hyundai Australia is pushing for an LPG hybrid, writes STEPHEN OTTLEY
BUOYED by its successful diesel expansion, Hyundai is pushing to become the first company to introduce an LPG hybrid in Australia.
Hyundai Australia’s parent company, Hyundai Motor Company, has revealed details for a new Elantra powered by an LPG engine paired with an electric motor.
The car is known as the LPI HEV, which stands for Liquid Petroleum Injected Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
It is due to hit South Korean roads by July 2009 and Hyundai Australia has already told its parent company it is keen on introducing it into Australian showrooms.
‘‘We are interested and let HMC know that we are. But at this stage there is no confirmation that the car will be released in Australia,’’ Hyundai Australia spokesman Ben Hershman says.
Despite that there is plenty of enthusiasm for the car from the Australian arm of the company.
‘‘We had a product meeting in May and made it clear a product like this would be one we’d be very interested in,’’ Hershman says.
‘‘The concept is great. Obviously South Korea has a great LPG infrastructure and so does Australia and we’ve pointed that out to them.’’
Australia is one of few countries with a well-established LPG network and with no other manufacturers with such a car, Hyundai knows it is well placed to get a jump on its rivals.
‘‘There’s no doubt it would be an opportunity for us. We’re very focused on the roll-out of our diesel products at the moment . . . but of course we are looking to the future,’’ Hershman says.
The car is labelled as a mild hybrid and is powered by a 1.6-litre LPG engine that is supported by a 15kW electric motor with drive through a continuously variable transmission.
Though pricing is still to be revealed, the company claims the price premium for the hybrid Elantra will be made up within two years through fuel savings.
As well as its reduced economy, Hyundai is also claiming the car is a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle and emits 103g/km of CO2; 90 per cent less than the petrol-powered Elantra.
While the company is rolling out the technology in the Elantra, plans are already underway to transfer it to other models across the range. Hyundai plans to start with a midsized sedan by 2010.
Bring it on: Hyundai Australia has told its Korean parent company it wants the LPI HEV LPG hybrid in showrooms here.