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2008 LA Auto Show: Hyundai Blue Drive: A Strategy for Environmental Leadership - COMPLETE VIDEO

Hyundai Blue Drive (select to view enlarged photo)
Hyundai Blue Drive

Hyundai's First U.S. Hybrid System Uses Breakthrough Lithium Polymer Batteries and Leapfrogs Existing Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lithium-Ion Technology

LOS ANGELES - November 19, 2008: Hyundai Motor America announced today the launch of Blue Drive, an environmental initiative which will bring to market a family of eco-friendly Blue Drive products and establish Hyundai as an environmental leader. With Blue Drive products and technologies, Hyundai will be able to achieve a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2015, five years ahead of government requirements. During a news conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company revealed plans for its first U.S.-market gas-electric full hybrid (to be offered in the next-generation Sonata), introduced a sleek crossover concept powered by a turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine, and announced future high-mileage editions of the Accent and Elantra, underscoring its global commitment to sustainable transportation.

"Hyundai aims to be the most fuel-efficient automaker on the planet," said John Krafcik, vice president, Product Development and Strategic Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "We're aligning our global R&D resources in Michigan, California, Nam Yang, and Frankfurt to develop the Blue Drive technologies we need to achieve our goal - a 35 mpg U.S. fleet average by 2015."

Click PLAY to watch the complete Hyundai Press Conference

Hyundai's Hybrid Blue Drive Architecture
An all-new, homegrown hybrid architecture is at the heart of the Hyundai Blue Drive strategy. Hyundai's proprietary parallel hybrid drive system mates the already fuel efficient 2.4-liter Theta II engine to a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 30kW (205 N-m) electric motor for maximum fuel economy. Hybrid Blue Drive has an all-electric mode and a parallel drive mode. This means the wheels are turned by power coming directly from the gasoline engine, or the electric motor, or both together, as conditions demand. This parallel hybrid drive architecture will serve as the foundation for future hybrid drive vehicles to be developed by Hyundai, starting with the next-generation Sonata in the United States.

Lithium Polymer Battery Technology
Hyundai's hybrid system stores its electrical charge in a 270V lithium polymer rechargeable battery (5.3Ah/270V) that surpasses existing nickel-metal hydride and pending lithium-ion applications. Lithium polymer batteries are more durable and space-efficient than other hybrid batteries.

Lithium Polymer Batteries vs. Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries
Compared with nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium polymer batteries deliver the same power with 30 percent less weight, 50 percent less volume and 10 percent greater efficiency over the nickel-metal hydride batteries found in all of today's hybrids. Lithium polymer batteries offer more than twice the energy density of nickel-metal hydride batteries, and 175 percent greater volumetric energy density, meaning Hyundai engineers can devote less space and weight to the battery pack. Lithium polymer batteries also hold their charge 20 times longer. Lithium polymer batteries also are more resistant to changes in temperature, which improves cycle life. And lithium polymer's self-discharge rate is less than a third of a nickel-metal hydride battery.

Lithium Polymer Batteries vs. Lithium-ion Batteries
Lithium polymer has significant advantages over lithium-ion batteries, including higher energy density and lower manufacturing costs. Lithium polymer is more resistant to physical damage and can handle more charge-discharge cycles before storage capacity begins to degrade. Lithium polymer technology also offers significant advantages in thermal robustness and safety compared with typical lithium-ion batteries.

A key difference between traditional lithium-ion batteries and Hyundai's lithium polymer battery solution is the overall packaging of the cell - the anode, the cathode, the electrolyte, and the encasement material. Traditional lithium-ion batteries, like those found in laptops, use what's known as the 18650 cell format. In this format each mass-produced cell is 18 mm. in diameter and 65 mm. tall, which is a bit larger than a AA battery. Each of these small metal cylinders is filled with a liquid electrolyte which facilitates the movement of lithium ions across anode and cathode, creating the battery current.

Traditional lithium-ion batteries are easy to handle, can withstand mild internal pressures, and have been around in various forms since 1991. That means a manufacturing infrastructure is in place, and scale economies are reasonably high. However, they do have several disadvantages. For example, their cylindrical shape reduces packaging efficiency and they are surprisingly complicated to manufacture since they have so many small parts. These small parts make them robust to thermal fluctuations and add significant cost and weight to the overall battery system. Cell-to-cell consistency also is extremely critical in a vehicle battery package, since the pack is only as robust as its weakest cell. Traditional lithium-ion batteries have considerable cell-to-cell variation, while Hyundai's lithium polymer batteries deliver outstanding cell-to-cell consistency.

Lithium polymer technology uses a completely different approach. Rather than using a liquid electrolyte, which requires a robust metal casing, lithium polymer batteries use a polymer gel as the electrolyte, which allows the use of a thinner and lighter aluminum-walled encasement, or pouch. Inside each lithium polymer cell the cathode, separator, and anode are laminated together, enabling much simpler and more reliable manufacturing. This allows the battery pack to be about 20 percent smaller than a lithium-ion battery pack, making it much easier to change the cell footprint to fit the nooks and crannies of available vehicle space.

Hyundai has spent hundreds of hours testing Hybrid Blue Drive's lithium polymer battery system with its battery supplier, LG Chem. This testing has proven that Hyundai's lithium polymer technology has greater thermal and mechanical stability than existing systems, meaning better safety.

Another key engineering challenge for Hybrid Blue Drive has been assuring maintenance-free battery operation over the vehicle's life - at least 10 years, and 150,000 miles - in all weather conditions. Heat is the enemy of battery cycle life. Hyundai's thermal imaging testing shows how much cooler a lithium polymer battery is compared to today's nickel-metal hydride battery or a conventional lithium-ion battery. Consumers will notice these advantages in improved useful life and lower maintenance costs.

Other Aspects of Hyundai Blue Drive - Weight Efficiency, Turbo GDI, Optimized Blue Models, and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

HED-5 i-Mode Concept Vehicle
At the Geneva International Motor Show, Hyundai introduced the revolutionary HED-5 "i-Mode" concept car. Today, Hyundai Motor America is announcing that a production version of this compact, spacious, weight-efficient four-cylinder crossover has been green lighted for the U.S., with timing to be announced at a later date.

Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection Technology
The HED-5 concept was shown with an advanced 2.0-liter Theta turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) four-cylinder engine capable of developing as much as 286 horsepower, and delivering more than 30 highway miles per gallon. This engine will appear in various Hyundai models in the future.

By injecting the fuel directly inside the cylinder in a small, precise amount, combustion is improved resulting in higher fuel efficiency and lower exhaust emissions. The performance and response of the engine also improves thanks to intake charge cooling. When direct injection is combined with turbo charging, customers enjoy even better performance and fewer trips to the gas station. Four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direction injection engines can be 15 - 20 percent more fuel efficient than V6 engines without compromising performance.

Blue Editions
Next year, Hyundai will introduce high mileage "Blue" editions of its Accent and Elantra models. These models will deliver outstanding fuel economy without adding thousands of dollars to the price. In fact, "Blue" models will be priced lower than other models, assuring they will be both efficient and economical.

Hyundai is focused on achieving an excellent MPG-per-dollar ratio with these models. Fuel-efficient modifications include low-rolling-resistance tires, enhanced aerodynamics, revised engine calibrations and reduced final drive ratios to deliver even higher mileage and lower emissions than today's models. These new high mileage editions will be identified with unique "Blue" badging.