HYUNDAI MOTOR TO LAUNCH ELECTRIC BUS NEXT YEAR
South Korean vehicle manufacturer Hyundai Motor is planning to mass-produce electric buses next year as part of the automaker’s broader push into electric vehicles. Test-drives of its electric bus will start in the second half of this year, with plans to begin manufacturing in the first half of next year, targeting both local and overseas markets.
The new bus will have a driving range of 260 kilometers that can be fully charged within one hour with a high-speed charger, industry sources say. It is the first time for the auto conglomerate to mass-produce electric buses. Hyundai showcased its first electric bus Elec-city in 2010, but the commercialization never came through, faced with price constraints.
Hyundai’s bus plan arrives as global EV makers are making inroads into Korea. China’s BYD Auto, the world’s largest EV manufacturer, has set up a Korean unit on Jeju Island, with plans to introduce the K9 electric bus, which can drive up to more than 300 kilometers on a single charge.
Woojin Industrial Systems also unveiled its first mass-produced electric bus in March, with plans to start selling the vehicles to bus operators. The bus, equipped with 204 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery from LG Chem, runs 150 kilometers on a single charge.
The Korea Herald reported recently that Hyundai is currently developing its own solid-state battery that has a significantly lower risk of ignition or explosion.