Hyundai i10 Electric
An electric car based on the i10 city car, which is enjoying booming sales under the scrappage scheme.
Hyundai says electric cars are crucial if it is to meet its target of bringing down the average CO2 emissions of its range to 95g/km by 2020, but it plans a low-key start with the battery-powered i10.
Limited production of the car will begin late next year, with vehicles going on trial with Korean government departments and domestic fleets.
However, UK importers have expressed interest in conducting tests with the car. 'We would be very interested in taking it,' said a Hyundai UK spokesman.
The British importer believes the plug-in i10 could do particularly well in London, where Mayor Boris Johnson wants to create the electric-car capital of the world.
Hyundai says it is unlikely that the car will have any significant presence in Europe until 2012 at the earliest.
'The problem is that there would be a very high cost for the batteries alone – perhaps €10,000 (£8000),' says Hans-Ulrich Goebel, Hyundai's European product planning manager.
'It is likely to be some time before we could expect to see acceptance of such a cost by private customers, but there is potentially a big market for electric small vans.'
Allan Rushforth, vice-president of Hyundai Europe, added: 'The threshold of what is acceptable varies from country to country and is dependent on what incentives governments are prepared to offer motorists to take up such systems, but ultimately, the customer will have to pay.'
Performance and range
The electric i10 is driven by a 49-kilowatt (65bhp) electric motor powered by a 16 kw/hr lithium ion polymer battery.
Hyundai claims a range of 100 miles on a full charge and a top speed of 80mph.
Recharging takes five hours using a standard domestic socket, but the batteries can be restored to 85% of capacity in 15 minutes through an industrial (420V) power point.