Hyundai, Toyota launch new hybrid cars at Seoul Motor Show

Hyundai Motor and Toyota Motors launched new models of hybrid cars at the Seoul Motor Show on Thursday, forecasting that sales of the eco-friendly vehicles will increase in the next few years in South Korea.

Hyundai showed off its new Grandeur Hybrid which improved fuel efficiency by 8.1% to 16.2km per liter compared with its previous model, Grandeur HG Hybrid. Its battery life has also increased by 23% to 1.76 kWh, which means cars can travel for longer distances on one charge.

"We developed the new Grandeur Hybrid, seeking to make it top quality in fuel efficiency, design and convenience," said Lee Kwang-kook, Hyundai's vice president. "We will make it an outstanding player among the domestic premium eco-friendly vehicles by selling more than 10,000 units annually."

Toyota Korea also unveiled its plug-in hybrid model Prius Prime which can be driven in electric vehicle mode for short distances and hybrid mode for long distances. Toyota leads the hybrid market, selling an accumulated 10 million units globally.

Technology company Naver, which has developed autonomous driving technology, also exhibited at the motor show, sharing its research on space and mobility which it defined as "ambient intelligence."

"Ambient intelligence means technologies and services providing the right information at the right timing, recognizing various situations in our life," said Song Chang-hyun, head of Naver Labs, the company's research affiliate. "We want to offer solutions to users by digitalizing spaces they visit and their mobility routes."

Hyundai also unveiled its new-concept fuel-cell cars. The company said that the FE (future eco) Fuel Cell vehicle can be driven more than 800km on a single tank of fuel, up from 594km for the ix35 Fuel Cell model. Hyundai is also aiming to install its fourth-generation fuel cell system in the new model which the company is developing, seeking to reduce 20% of its weight.

Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen gas to power an electric motor. They combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity that powers the motor.

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