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Hyundai eyes hydrogen with Blue2 concept car

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Korean automaker Hyundai unveiled a hydrogen-powered concept car called the Blue2 that's powered by fuel cell technology. Look alive, Honda and Toyota.

Korean automaker Hyundai unveiled on Thursday a hydrogen-powered concept car called the Blue2 that's powered by fuel cell technology.

The Blue2 -- meant to be read "blue squared," and combining the automaker's eco-brand "Blue Drive" with "H2," or hydrogen -- is intended to serve as a creative bulwark against alternative fuel assaults from Japanese rivals Honda and Toyota.

As such, the 121-horsepower vehicle is equipped with an electric capacity to the tune of 90 kilowatts -- 1.65 kilowatts per liter, specifically -- and fuel economy of about 82 miles per gallon.

On the outside, you'll find low-resistance tires and alloy wheels designed to reduce weight and drag. You'll also find self-opening doors, wider-than-usual seats, an ionizing air circulation system, cameras instead of rearview mirrors and an LED display dubbed "Transparent Organic," whatever that means.

Hyundai unveiled the concept vehicle in its own backyard at the Seoul Auto Show, perhaps as a sign that it was aggressively pursuing alternative means to power its popular vehicles.

The company has previously indicated it would not dive headlong into the race to manufacture hybrid or all-electric vehicles, instead choosing to refine its gasoline-powered technology. Still, the company displayed a hybrid Sonata model at the 2010 New York Auto Show.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure