Hyundai launches its first electric minibus
Currently Chinese automakers dominate the electric bus market with their cobalt-free LFP batteries. Only now the Korean automaker Hyundai is launching its first electric minibus.
Let’s see the press release.
29 June 2020 – Hyundai Motor Company has introduced the County Electric for the Korean market, the company’s first electric minibus.
The bus provides an economical, eco-friendly, safe and convenient alternative to diesel-powered buses.
The 7,710-mm-long County Electric is equipped with a high-efficiency and high-power 128-kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery that provides a range of 250 km on a full charge. Hyundai Motor will offer the bus in configurations with 15 to 33 seats.
The 128-kWh battery can be fully charged in 72 minutes using a standard Combo 1 DC system (based on 150kW charging), which helps ensure reliability. The bus can be charged using a household 220V outlet, which takes 17 hours; a 220V charger is provided as an option.
Not only is Country Electric economical and eco-friendly, it is also powerful. Within the 50 to 80 km/h range, Country Electric provides 30-percent faster acceleration compared to diesel models. In addition, the bus is equipped with an electronically controlled, air-over-hydraulic(AOH) brake system with more robust brake discs to handle increased vehicle weight due to the battery.
Hyundai Motor equipped the bus with the latest safety technologies to prevent accidents when passengers get on and off. Various sensors located near the middle door, including an ultrasonic sensor, prevent the door from closing while the passenger is getting on and off. The sensors also trigger an alarm when a body part gets caught in the door and automatically opens the door to prevent injury. The ultrasonic sensor is also connected to the bus’s acceleration pedal, which prevents the bus from moving forward from a stop when passenger movement is detected. County Electric also comes with a virtual engine sound system and rear parking assist system to warn pedestrians and prevent accidents.
The bus is available with a twin swing-type rear emergency door, seats with a 220-mm-higher backrest, and a new seat belt system that can reduce abdominal pressure during emergency braking. Swapping the diesel engine for electric motor provides more space, making it easier for passengers to get in and out of the bus.
- Range: 250 km (155 miles)
- Battery capacity: 128 kWh
- Fast charging: 72 minutes at 150 kW CCS fast chargers
- Normal charging: 17 hours at 7,4 kW with a wallbox
- Seats: 15 to 33
There’s no information about who is supplying the battery cells, but it should be LG Chem.
- Battery monitoring system capable of automatically cutting the power when a battery abnormality is detected
- Overcharge prevention system that checks the battery voltage during charging and cuts the power when an abnormal voltage is detected
- Safety plug that cuts the power to the electrical system during maintenance
Brake and Stability Features
- AOH brake system that uses both hydraulic pressure and air pressure
- Heavy-duty brake discs
- Electronically controlled brake system that can maintain constant braking performance in various driving situations
- Stability control feature that controls each of the wheels during sudden braking and turning
- Overturn prevention feature controls engine and braking when the possibility is detected
- Hill launch assist feature
- Wheel spin prevention feature
- New parking brake that adds air pressure for more stable braking force
- Auxiliary braking system adjusts the strength of regenerative braking in four levels using a paddle shift attached to the steering wheel to adjust braking force without brake operation
- Ventilated and heated seats for driver
- Color LCD instrument panel with a 7-inch main screen and two 4.2-inch auxiliary screens, providing various vehicle information
Steering wheel with various function buttons in the steering wheel, and a smart key for starting a button that enables remote start
Anyway, while I understand that these commercial vehicles have flexible prices that depend on the quantity that is ordered, I think that automakers should be more transparent and at least advertise starting prices.
If we knew how much these electric vehicles actually cost, we could compare them with diesel counterparts and create more awareness around them. Then, people could contact local politicians or companies and have data to back their claims when pushing for electric vehicles.
I see these small electric buses not only interesting for regular public transportation, but also to transport small groups like associations or clubs.