With the focus on big EV launches from Japan and the United States, South Korea has now joined the fray, with their largest car company, Hyundai, launching the BlueOn.

The BlueOn is Hyundai and South Korea's first pure electric car. Based on the i10, the new subcompact EV carries a 16.4 kilowatt-hour battery pack that allows it to travel around 85 miles on a charge and manages a top speed of 80 miles per hour. This makes it competitive with cars like the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which is sure to be a close competitor.

The first cars will go to government agencies, and Hyundai intends to begin selling to the public with the first 2,500 units due in 2012. The BlueOn has the support of South Korea's government, who plan to replace 20 percent of the country's passenger cars with EVs by 2020.

Although it's likely that countries with EV infrastructures in place will see the BlueOn first, Hyundai says it's too early to say in which markets the car will be launched. The manufacturer says they're taking "a baby step", as "there is no infrastructure such as charging stations in Korea and many other countries".

Hyundai was late to the market with their hybrid program, but with impressive sales and some strong products on the market they're sure to play a major part in the wider adoption of production EVs.

South Korea aims to be a leading market for EVs - the BlueOn is sure to be the first of many.

[Reuters via GreenCarReports]