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(Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) plans to start selling its first battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) in 2016 as South Korea's champion of fuel-cell cars hedges its bets in next-generation green technology.

Hyundai has leant toward engines which turn hydrogen into electricity in response to stricter emissions regulations in markets such as the United States. Research and development partner Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) has focused on rechargeable batteries.

But the division of labour is blurring at a time when the number of battery-powered EVs is on the rise. BMW's (BMWG.DE) i3 and Nissan Motor Co Ltd's (7201.T) Leaf are widely expected to reach Korea this year - as will Kia's Soul EV.

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