It appears that Hyundai is busy cooking up its own versions of dedicated hybrid vehicles to target Toyota’s Prius and Prius v models. What you see here are not standard i30 hatchback units, but early test bed prototypes of the Korean brand’s future Prius-fighters. Or if you will, prize-fighters.

What makes us so sure of this? Well, for starters, the fleet of test cars are traveling with not one, but two Toyota Prius models – a standard Prius and the larger MPV-esque Prius v. Looking closely at the mules, there are two models of different lengths on test here – check out the extended portions just above the rear wheel arches (below) – signalling that Hyundai may be planning to take on the Prius pair head on.

Other clues are not as subtle. Our ever-resourceful European spy photographers managed to get up close and capture very revealing pictures of the prototype’s undercarriage (with a big fat orange high-voltage cable) and even interior (complete with copper cooling wires leading to where the battery pack would be), leaving no doubts that there are hybrid modules under the skin.

Hyundai is certainly no stranger to hybrid technology – there has been a hybrid version of the Sonata for quite a while now. But making dedicated hybrid models a la the Toyota Prius range is a different ball game altogether. The unique-looking BLUE-WILL Concept from 2009 was the one and only official hint that Hyundai was ever interested in such an endeavour.

Can the Koreans actually match, or even beat Toyota at its own game? We can’t wait to find out.

2009 Hyundai BLUE-WILL Concept