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Spies have caught the first mules for a dedicated hybrid model that is being developed by Hyundai. The Korean manufacturer is preparing the model to join the economical fight against rivals such as the dominant Toyota Prius.

The photographer caught four separate mules each wearing the body of the Elantra GT and showing signs of two levels modifications. It suggests Hyundai are working on more than one model and Toyota will have to contend with a rival for both the Prius and the larger Prius V.

A few cheeky shots of the undercarriage reveal signs of the hybrid powertrain. The orange, high-voltage cable is attached to a battery pack beneath the rear seats, which then leads up into the engine bay. Inside the cabin, we see copper wire coming from the engine bay and coiling into the rear seat area.

Hyundai initially had plans to develop a plug-in hybrid system coupled with lithium polymer batteries as exhibited on the Blue-Will Concept way back in 2009. However, that is not the system being tested here leading us to believe engineers have taken a different direction.


Gallery: Hyundai's Prius-fighting hybrid caught testing

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