The Toyota Prius right now is the undisputed king of hybrid cars, a title that has drawn both respect and ire from a number of sources. That title has also attracted quite a bit of cash to Toyota, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the competition. Other automakers have attempted, unsuccessfully to knock the mighty Prius off its perch. This time, both Hyundai and Ford are developing the new challengers.
The two automakers are working separately on their own dedicated hybrid models, or in other words cars that have been built from the ground-up to be hybrids. Many have cited a unique design as one of the main reasons for the success of the Prius, while most competitors are models that were designed to be fossil fuel-burning cars and have had the batteries and electric motors shoved in every which way. That usually means horrible cargo space and other design limits that make them unappealing to consumers.
Hyundai is looking to launch its new dedicated hybrid model by 2016. That single vehicle might spawn an entire hybrid family of cars, according to various reports. Speculation is that the hybrid will be based on the Hyundai Blue-Will plug-in concept, which was unveiled way back in 2009. Testing mules have been spotted by a number of automotive publications, but details on the new model are right now quite limited.
As for Ford, it is supposedly planning to launch its new hybrid-only model in 2019. While that might seem a little late in the game, Ford has been pushing the engineering envelope lately and should not be counted out, at least not yet.