Hyundai To Mass Produce Hybrids in 2009

Hyundai Motors announced that it will begin mass producing hybrid cars in 2009. The first step under the new initiative will be production of the Avante, a sedan hybrid that will run on a combination of propane and electricity. The Avante is sold as the Elantra worldwide. According to the Korea Times, Hyundai plans to release this new hybrid in the latter half of 2009. Then the motor company will expand its hybrid lineup to include sedans such as the Sonata by 2010. At this stage, it’s unclear if and when Hyundai will release these hybrids into North American markets.

“The importance of developing futuristic, environmentally-friendly cars is increasing for sustainable growth,” said Chung Mong Koo, chairman of Hyundai. “Therefore, technology for advanced cars, like the hybrid, is imperative.”

To date, Hyundai has produced approximately 2,800 small hybrids for various government demonstration projects in South Korea. In 2004 and 2005, the company announced plans to invest nearly $1 billion in its hybrid program, with the goal of producing 10,000 hybrids per year by 2009, including a hybrid version of the Hyundai Accent. Those plans were delayed in 2006, when the company faced a series of corporate scandals which landed its chairman in jail.

The latest announcement suggests that Hyundai is ready to resume its hybrid plans—although the decision to use propane as a fuel source indicates that the Avante will initially be targeted to fleets. More than three million vehicles worldwide operate on propane, mostly for municipal and corporate fleet use in Australia, Canada, Holland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and Korea.


  • ChevTex

    Good for them!

  • go green

    finnally they get of their lazy ass and do something

  • Paul Rivers

    Erg. I’m so disappointed by these announcements. They’re introducing a new hybrid!…which will run on propane. And won’t be available in the states. Like, is anyone actually intending to sell new hybrids, rather than just try to gain press attention with announcements?

    Guess what guys? I’ve coming out with my new hybrid car. It gets 500mpg (yeah, seriously!). Range is a little bit of an issue, but we’re confident we’ll be able to find a solution. Here’s a picture:
    http://www.familycourtchronicles.com/philosophy/dissonance/remote-control-car.jpg

    Aren’t you, uh, excited? ;-)

  • steved28

    So true Paul. I’m so glad I didn’t wait, and pulled the trigger on getting my Altima hybrid. I was reluctant at first because of the technology I thought “was right around the corner”. But they keep pulling the corner further away. It now seems I will have my car easily into 2011-12 before I have PHEV choices.

  • Armand

    Total BS….

    I wish I were paid $10 everytime I heard that…

    {FILL IN THE NAME OF YOUR CHOICE} To Mass Produce Hybrids in 2009

  • letzgoout

    The problem I see with hybrids is we’re putting all this energy into something that still requires fairly large amounts of gasoline, and going evolutionary rather than revolutionary. There are people out there that have made fairly simple modifications to a Prius that got it to pull 100mpg. Why can’t Toyota figure that out? And why not more flex fuel, plug in hybrid options, solar capabilities for recharging? And why the hell did we abandon nuclear power in the US? We could be so much less dependent on the middle east. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to care what happened there?

    That’s letzgoout’s rant. Time to hit a bar and get a drink.

  • Paul Rivers

    “The problem I see with hybrids is we’re putting all this energy into something that still requires fairly large amounts of gasoline, and going evolutionary rather than revolutionary. There are people out there that have made fairly simple modifications to a Prius that got it to pull 100mpg.”

    1. Because though simple, they’re expensive. For the price of those modifications you could buy a 2nd Prius. Even mass produced, if the vehicle cost half that (50% more) most people wouldn’t be willing to pay an additional $11,000 for the car.
    2. Because the Prius didn’t really get “100mpg”, it really got “100mpg + an unspecified amount of electricity”.
    3. Because at the moment there is no viable alternative fuel. Batteries are to big, heavy, and expensive (yes, they’re working on it, and yes, I certainly hope they get it all figured out!…but evidentally not this year). Hydrogen isn’t practical because takes as much energy to make as it produces, and ethanol takes nearly as much energy to make it as it produces in your car.

  • asmĂȘnio de leme

    To Paul Rivers
    I agree with you (him)
    but any way
    yes, there a lot things beyond simple hybrids – just now
    but we must consider that
    Toyota (and Honda somehow) are trying harder
    to find new and diferents ways,
    what woud you say about Ford, GM, nothinh much isn’t?
    at least , Toyota is building a base
    and by now they are miles a head

  • skeller

    Really great news for Hyundai and their fans. Even though I think that their green minded effort is too late in the run, I still believe Hyundai will be able to make its own mark in the Green revolution the moment they begin the mass production.