When it comes to advanced automotive technology, most global carmakers are placing their bets with care.

Toyota is all-in for hydrogen fuel cells, while Nissan is betting on battery-electric vehicles for its future. GM too is on the plug-in side of the ledger, while other makers hang back more cautiously.

There are just two makers that are doing it all; one is VW Group, one of the world's three biggest makers along with Toyota and GM.

DON'T MISS: Ford, Hyundai Dedicated Hybrids To Target 2016 Toyota Prius? (Aug 2014)

The other, perhaps surprisingly, is Korean upstart Hyundai-Kia.

As a recent article in industry trade journal Automotive News notes, the two brands will have no fewer than nine advanced-technology vehicles by the 2018 model year.

Four of them have already been released or shown: the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be the highest-volume of those.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - First Drive, May 2015

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - First Drive, May 2015

It's part of the newest generation of Sonata mid-size sedan, and competes directly against the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

A lower-volume Sonata Plug-In Hybrid derived from that conventional (non-plug-in) hybrid will be sold in limited regions as well.

Then there is the low-volume Kia Soul EV battery-electric car, which the company says has attracted more demand than it expected. Accordingly, it will expand electric Soul sales beyond California this year and next.

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Finally, there's the very low-volume Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, a hydrogen-powered vehicle of which 71 were leased between June 2014 and June 2015.

Its deliveries are restricted to specific regions of Southern California where fueling stations exist, although lessees have complained that those stations are not sufficiently reliable.

But that's just the start. Hyundai and Kia together have an additional five vehicles planned by 2018 that will give the combined brands an entry in every sector of advanced technology.

2015 Toyota Prius Liftback

2015 Toyota Prius Liftback

Most daring may be the Hyundai "dedicated hybrid," a high-tailed hatchback meant to face off directly against the strongman of the hybrid world, the Toyota Prius--whose fourth-generation 2016 model will be  unveiled before the end of this year.

Based on underpinnings adapted from the Hyundai Elantra subcompact, the so-far-unnamed "Prius fighter" will also spawn a Kia model as well.

The Hyundai and Kia dedicated hybrids will be two of only a tiny number of hybrid vehicles sold solely with that powertrain in unique bodies, with the goal of maximizing all facets of vehicle efficiency around the hybrid powertrain.

MORE: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid And Plug-In Hybrid First Drive

Among them are the various members of the Prius family, two generations of Honda Insight (both now defunct), and nominally, the Ford C-Max in North America (it's sold in Europe as a non-hybrid, however).

The last three are hybrid and plug-in hybrid models of the 2016 Kia Optima, which was unveiled in production form at last spring's New York Auto Show.

Those two models closely parallel the 2016 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid respectively.

2016 Kia Optima, 2015 New York Auto Show

2016 Kia Optima, 2015 New York Auto Show

And, finally, Hyundai too will add a battery-electric vehicle of some sort.

It's worth noting that one or both two brands are considering offering diesel engines in some U.S. offerings as a further way of boosting fuel economy.

In other words, the two brands are "basically throwing darts at the wall, preparing for the future by having expertise in all of these types of vehicles," in the words of Ed Kim, a former product planner at Hyundai who's now vice president of industry analysis at automotive consultancy AutoPacific.

Hyundai and Kia share technology and vehicle underpinnings, but they compete fiercely in the various markets where both are sold--including North America.


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