Hyundai today launched its first hybrid car, the Elantra LPI, to the domestic (South Korean) market to satisfy a growing appetite for fuel-saving vehicles and to improve the image of the company's technology.
The Elantra LPI, a hybrid model of its popular compact sedan, uses liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and lithium-ion polymer batteries.
The hybrid arrived at showrooms amid worries Hyundai could lose out if such cars gained in popularity in the United States, with Toyota and Honda pushing the technology into the mainstream with low-priced petrol-electric models.
Hyundai is due to launch its first petrol-electric hybrid, a version of the flagship Sonata, in the second half of next year and also has a prototype Prius-esque vehicle, the Blue Will concept, in the wings (as pictured below).
The Elantra LPI can travel 17.8 kilometers on one litre of LPG or 38.5 kilometers on one liter of petrol and emits 99 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
Hyundai aims to sell 7,500 units of the hybrid this year in South Korea and to double the sales volume in 2010 but has no immediate plans for exports.
Hyundai, which spent 250.8 billion won ($197.7 million) developing the car over more than three years, will sell the car for between 20.5 million and 23.2 million won.