Hyundai launches its first electric minibus

Hyundai launches its first electric minibus
Hyundai County 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.

 

 – 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 Features

  • 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

Convenience Features

  • 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.

 

 

More info:

https://www.hyundai.news/eu/brand/hyundai-motor-launches-county-electric-minibus/

Pedro Lima

On this blog I try to provide interesting information about battery technologies that otherwise wouldn't be available to the public. Given the secrecy around this topic, sometimes I need to do a mix of investigator work with some educated guesses.
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Famlin
Famlin
3 months ago

Good that Hyundai joined the electric bus group at least now after sitting idle. Chinese have established firmly in this segment.
Buses which travel a lot and consume a lot of fuel (dirty diesel) can save a lot if they go electric.

Pedro Lima
Pedro Lima
3 months ago
Reply to  Famlin

Indeed, electric public transportation should be the priority right now. It’s easier to achieve and it’s much more cost effective than personal transportation.

Public policies examples:

Strategy 1: give 5.000 euros in government subsidies to buy personal electric cars
Strategy 2: use 200.000 euros (40 subsidies) you buy an electric minibus instead

The strategy 2 makes much more sense. For the same investment it can transport a lot more people and save on fuel during a day.

I’m completely against using public money to subsidize personal transportation (electric or not). It’s not a fair nor efficient policy.

Marcel
Marcel
3 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Yes, now that battery prices have dropped, due to in part to consumer demand for EVs, assisted by regulations and subsidies, those subsidies should be moved to buses and trucks.

Stephane Cnockaert
Stephane Cnockaert
3 months ago

I guess the 128 kWh storage is made of 80 Ah 3.2 Volt (256 Wh) Li-FePO4 cells weighing 2.1 kg that one can purchase on Amazon :
https://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Manufacturer-Rechargeable-Electric-Motoracycle/dp/B07VVYSGRD
On Amazon, such cells sell for $80 (retail price excluding shipment), determining a exorbitant $313 per kWh price.

Car manufacturers that are purchasing such cells in bulk (million cells orders) only pay $70 per kWh. Car manufacturers are not attracted by cells like this, because the location of their electrical connections are misplaced when wanting to build 126 mm thick or 48 mm thick battery packs.

Now consider a typical minibus geometry. There can be 8 rows made of 36 inch wide (914 mm) twinseats, determining a 32 seats capacity (plus driver, plus co-driver). The central corridor width can be 60 cm. The total interior width can be 90 + 60 + 90 cm = 240 cm. The total exterior width can be kept under 255 cm including rear mirrors.

Let us install 28 Li-ion cells under each twinseat. The 28 Li-ion cells can form a 4 (times 48 mm) by 7 (times 126 mm) matrix, determining a 192 mm by 882 mm footprint. The 882 mm dimension is 32 mm less than the 914 mm twinseat width. This allows some form of air cooling. The 28 Li-ion cells won’t protrude. The 192 mm dimension is not going to ruin legroom. Have we tried this yet ? A minibus designed this way, doesn’t get his floor raised by the battery pack thickness. This is a massive advantage. Better assume one cannot install Li-ion cells under the particular twinseat that’s located above the rear wheels arches. Better equip 7 rows instead of 8. Let’s wire this thing a special way, consisting in two identical battery packs, individually managed. There will be the “left” storage, and the “right” storage. Each storage consists in 7 (rows) in series times 2 cells (in parallel) times 14 cells (again in series) = 196 cells storing 80 Ah times 3.2 volt = 50 kWh. Times two equals 100 kWh. This is a short range minibus, working on 3.2 Volts times 7 (rows) times 14 (cells in series) = 314 Volts.

Let us install 42 Li-ion cells under each twinseat. The 42 Li-ion cells can form a 6 (times 48 mm) by 7 (times 126 mm) matrix, determining a 288 mm by 882 mm footprint. The 882 mm dimension is 32 mm less than the 914 mm twinseat width. This allows some form of air cooling. The 42 Li-ion cells won’t protrude. The 288 mm dimension won’t ruin legroom, at the condition that one is increasing by 96 mm the legroom spacing between the rows. Have we tried this yet ? A minibus designed this way, doesn’t get his floor raised by the battery pack thickness. This is a massive advantage. Better assume one cannot install Li-ion cells under the particular twinseat that’s located above the rear wheels arches. Better equip 7 rows instead of 8. Let’s wire this thing a special way, consisting in two identical battery packs, individually managed. There will be the “left” storage, and the “right” storage. Each storage consists in 7 (rows) in series times 2 cells (in parallel) times 21 cells (again in series) = 294 cells storing 80 Ah times 3.2 volt = 75 kW. Times two equals 150 kWh. This is a medium range minibus, working on 3.2 Volts times 7 (rows) times 21 (cells in series) = 470 Volts.
Such architecture is feasible at the condition that the minibus embeds a 200 mm (high) structural steel belt, aiming at protecting the 173 mm (high) Li-ion cells against perforation, actually spreading the impact force, actually providing a huge rigidity in the z direction, preventing any structural collapse in the z direction.

Pedro Lima
Pedro Lima
3 months ago

I think that the cells are NCM 622 from LG Chem and that the 128 kWh battery pack is made with twice the cells used in a 64 kWh battery pack of a Hyundai Kona Electric.

Or perhaps they already are NCM 712 battery cells with roughly the same capacity, but are smaller and lighter – as the ones used in the new Chevrolet Bolt EV.