The internet is abuzz with news that Ford and Hyundai are currently working on new dedicated hybrid models that will compete with the top-selling Toyota Prius. Both Ford and Hyundai currently offer hybrid models, but none of them have been designed as hybrids from the ground like the Toyota Prius.
Why is a “dedicated hybrid” a big deal? A dedicated hybrid is the most ideal method, since every aspect of the car can be designed with efficiency in mind. This includes the overall design, power train and interior materials, which often face compromises in models that were originally designed to use a conventional engine. Up until now, the only other dedicated hybrid on the market was the Honda Insight, but it will be discontinued by the end of this year.
What can we expect from the Ford and Hyundai hybrids? There have been reports that Hyundai may be working on a family of hybrids, like the Prius with models that will come in different sizes. Prototypes of the Hyundai hybrid have been photographed testing in the real world, which hints that it could arrive as early as 2016. A plug-in hybrid version is still in question, since the prototypes haven’t revealed a port for a plug.
The Hyundai dedicated hybrid may look similar to the Blue-Will concept (pictured here) that originally debuted in 2010.
Ford’s dedicated hybrid is a bit further off, since it’s being reported that it will be introduced around 2019. Some buyers may question why the C-MAX is not being labeled as a dedicated hybrid, but it is because in other markets outside the U.S. it is offered with gas and diesel engines. The hybrid power train was added later. The new hybrid is known internally as C240 and will be built on Ford’s new C2 compact vehicle architecture, that will also be the basis for the next-generation C-MAX, Fusion and Escape models. Ford may also offer a family of hybrids to fully compete with the Prius.