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September 10, 2009 3:42 PM | By Richard Aucock, MSN Autos

Frankfurt 2009 – Hyundai

Hyundai shows its greener side

Hyundai ix-Metro Concept (© Photo: Hyundai)

Hyundai is demonstrating that blue is the colour to go green here at Frankfurt. The Korean automaker has chosen the IAA to unveil its latest eco-friendly fuel-saving models, and has even built a special Blue Drive Zone.

Taking centre stage is the ix-Metro city car, which claims to have a carbon dioxide emissions rating of just 80 g/km.

The concept's emissions are so low because it's a gasoline-electric hybrid, with a high-tech turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine supported by a high-boost electric motor. There's even a VW-style twin-clutch six-speed transmission, and although it's a concept, a spokesperson said it's a good indicator of future Hyundai products.

But that's some way off. Closer to production is the i10 Electric. Indeed, we're told, this car will actually go on sale in Korea later in 2010 - it gives out no emissions, has a range of 160 km and will zip up to 130 km/h. The i10 Electric can be charged by plugging it to a household outlet, says Hyundai, and the process can be hastened via an optional quick-charge setup that allows for an 85 per cent state of charge in just 15 minutes. "Great for demonstration cars," joked a spokesman. "Even if flat, the cars will be ready to go again after a quick coffee ..."

Reaching production now though is the i30 Blue. Using a stop-start 1.6-litre diesel motor that cuts emissions to 113 g/km, it will be on sale in Europe later in the year, as will a facelifted Santa Fe with all-new 2.2-litre diesel.

There are also a couple of other Korean models, updated with a green angle. There's the Elantra LPI Hybrid, which is powered by LPG and emits just 94 g/km of CO2. Indeed, it's the world's first-ever LPG electric hybrid. It sits alongside the quirky Blue Will plug-in electric hybrid concept.

Going slightly against the grain of these eco-friendly models is the company's only true production model reveal - the all-new ix35, the European version of the next-gen Tucson. This RAV4 and CR-V rival looks great, which is fortunate as it's showing off Hyundai's new "fluidic sculpture" design theme for the first time.

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