Joining the ranks of other major auto manufacturers, Hyundai will produce an electric car, starting in 2012. With the Chevy Volt heading to consumers in fall 2010 and the Nissan Leaf close behind, Hyundai wants to make sure that its customers are also given the option of a gasoline-free drive.
The Hyundai “BlueOn,” will be a 100% electric car (not a plug-in electric hybrid like the Volt). When the car’s SK Energy battery is fully charged, the BlueOn will be able to travel nearly 87 miles (140 kilometers) on a single charge, and can move at speeds up t0 80 mph (130 kilometers per hour). Its an impressive range, and even if the speeds don’t seem like much, the maximum allowable highway speed in the U.S. is 75 mph.
No word yet on how much the BlueOn will cost, or where Hyundai will first release its electric car to consumers. We do know that a number of EVs will be supplied to government agencies in 2010, with public sales starting in 2012.
The next few years will be the reality check on whether electric cars succeed, in many ways. Public acceptance, infrastructure development and increased sensitivity to driving a vehicle that is powered by energy other than fossil fuels.
Hyundai obviously agrees that producing an electric car to compete with other EVs coming on the market in the coming months is a wise move. Perhaps a low price could be just the tipping point to convince consumers to choose Hyundai over other manufacturers’ electric vehicle models.