Hyundai is shedding a bit of light on its electric vehicle plans. About time, too, since the company has spend a long period being quite vague about plugging in while touting its hydrogen plans. The Hyundai and Kia brands will both release their first plug-in hybrid vehicles next year in Korea; an all-electric version of the Kia Soul will roll out in May of this year and a mid-size electric vehicle will be launched as early as next year.
Test versions of the Hyundai i10 electric vehicle have been on Korean roads since first being used at the G20 summit in Seoul in 2010. There have been hints about an electrified Hyundai coming to America, and at the Washington Auto Show last week, Michael O'Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning for Hyundai Motor America told AutoblogGreen that a new EV will be coming to the US market sometime within the next three years.
A Hyundai executive told Korean national daily The Chosunilbo that the company will be significantly increasing its investment in hybrids and EVs to roll out a few eco-friendly models starting in 2015. It's hard to say which of these might come to the US market – a new LF Sonata will be coming out in both a regular gasoline and hybrid system in Korea; the US already has the Sonata Hybrid for sale. As for plug-in hybrids, Hyundai said that there will be both Sonata and Kia K5 (Optima) models coming out next year. These will also be the first-ever plug-in hybrids in the Korean market.