Proponents of the evolution to total electric vehicles knew there would be speed-bumps along the road, but they probably didn’t anticipate the number of potholes, bridge failures, and mega-crashes that have clouded the process of late.

Central to the plan has always been the claim of affordable battery electric vehicles for the masses. Several giant holes ripped open that sail recently as rapidly escalating prices on rare-earth minerals for batteries have forced existing BEV automakers to increase retail prices, significantly. Crushing interest rate increases have siphoned off capital for BEV startups, causing several to sever production and staff, as well as find new ways to fund operations as sales have been stymied by those pesky supply issues and the pricing of fossil fuels necessary to make just about everything else necessary for BEVs.

The elusive “affordable” BEV got some help when GM announced big price cuts for the Chevy Bolt, however, buyers haven’t exactly been excited about buying this dated electric car or Nissan’s aging compact Leaf.

Enter Hyundai (and Kia and Genesis) into the equation. Quickly amping up production on a variety of alternative-powered vehicles, Hyundai is embracing an “all-of-the-above” strategy when it comes to meeting goals for increased fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. The Korean automaker is constructing a new assembly plant in Georgia for BEVs, plus it is increasing production at its existing U.S. assembly plants to build more hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, like this week’s compact Tucson crossover.

Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid interior. Photo by Tim Plouff.

The fourth generation Tucson continues to break previous sales records, as the latest rendition features gas powered models, hybrid-powered models, plus the plug-in hybrid edition which includes up to 33-miles of electric power operation.

Tucson Hybrids start with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine — a rarity in size and power for hybrids, but quickly becoming the norm as buyers have readily voted with their wallets that they want elevated fuel economy, as well as the extra power and torque of the combined turbo-motor and electric motor — 226-horsepower here that makes the Tucson much more responsive. Environmental Protection Agency ratings for that powertrain are 37-mpg combined with H-TRAC AWD and the 6-speed automatic transmission.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle version taps into your 110-household power for charging the battery for an additional boost of energy. The lithium-ion battery pack is mated to a 66.9kW permanent magnet motor that augments the traditional hybrid gas-engine/battery pack that is charged by regenerative braking. The EPA gives the Tucson Plug-in a rating of 80MPGe, which is heavily biased towards using electric mode. After two punishing highway escapades and lots of urban travel, our top Limited trim Tucson returned a solid 36-mpg for the week — without plugging in.

In the real world, the Tucson operates seamlessly between systems, although, you can select one power-mode over another in case you want to save electric mode for the city or some other function. Ride balance, steering control, and the overall comfort and solitude of the cabin are at the top of the compact class. Cabin spacing and packing efficiency are also at the top of this very competitive segment.

Pricing is where buyers are going to find lots of options. Given the elevated content of Hyundai models in general, the Tucson is no different. Subtle pieces like a rear wiper tucked up under the liftgate valance, easy-folding rear seats, and the too clever (and useful) lane-change camera setup, illustrate the extra value found in all trim levels.

Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid dash. Photo by Tim Plouff.

The push-button shifter is the only fly in a perfect summer picnic here as the Tucson strikes the right balance in so many areas.

A base Tucson SE, with gas engine, starts at $26,245. The Blue Hybrid edition is $31,045, while the mid-level Hybrid Convenience begins at $33,645 and the top Limited hybrid starts at $39,345. The plug-in model currently comes in only Limited trim, for a hefty $4,400 premium over the regular hybrid. Yet, this model includes Panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled leather seating, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, wireless charging, dual front and rear USB outlets, remote Smart Park (driver outside the car) Smart Cruise, plus the whole enchilada of electronic driving aids. Hyundai covers each hybrid/plug-in hybrid with the same 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty as its other models.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid editions of various models make more sense for a segment of the driving public that desires increased fuel efficiency and lower emissions, with lower purchase costs versus a fully electric car. Hybrids also have none of the range anxiety of BEVs, which is not at all inconsequential at this point.

Tim Plouff has been reviewing automobiles for more than 20 years.

Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid. Photo by Tim Plouff.