Hyundai BlueOn is Company's—and Korea's—First Highway-Capable Electric Car

· · 10 years ago

Building on the foundation laid by their i10 concept at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, Hyundai today unveiled the BlueOn electric car.

After investing 35 million dollars over the course of the last year to get the BlueOn out the door, at today's unveiling ceremony Hyundai said the BlueOn will be produced in an extremely limited run of 30 vehicles initially, which the company will provide to S. Korean governmental test fleets starting in October. Over the course of the next year, Hyundai says they will expand the test program to eventually include 2,500 vehicles.

As the country's first real foray into plug-in vehicles and infrastructure, the BlueOn test fleet will be monitored and used to develop and expand charging infrastructure until August 2012. The company hasn't given any information on what will happen in August 2012, but likely, if all goes well with the test fleet, we'll see the BlueOn and/or other plug-in Hyundais hit the mass market shortly thereafter. In the press release, Hyundai also virtually admits that they are meant to help the country look more green, saying, "These cars will be used for promotional purposes, starting with the upcoming G20 summit, to boost Korea’s eco-friendly image."

At 11.76 feet long, 5.24 feet wide, and 5.05 feet tall, the BlueOn is certainly a tiny hatchback. Its 16.4 kWh battery and 82 hp electric motor combo is capable of taking it up to 87 miles per charge and gives it a top speed of 80 mph. As the i10 concept before it, the BlueOn is built on advanced lithium polymer batteries (presumably the same ones Hyundai is employing in the upcoming Sonata Hybrid).

And here's one last lighthearted tidbit: Although the name BlueOn is derived from combining Hyundai's "Blue Drive" moniker with the words "Switch On," it is certainly one that not a few English speakers might think sounds a bit, uh, lascivious—as in, "This plug-in gives me a BlueOn." It's almost as unfortunate a name as the Smart ED. Ah, naming cars in the era of globalization... what fun.

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