Korean manufacturer Hyundai has unveiled the Elec City bus with 180 miles of range that could, theoretically, help slash pollution in city centers.
The focus of the EV movement is, inevitably, on passenger cars. But diesel-powered buses patrol the streets of most major cities and towns in the civilized world and replacing these with electric vehicles could have a massive impact.
Inner city pollution is a serious problem
Smog is a common feature in a lot of major cities and diesel particulates undoubtedly play their part. So, a commercially viable bus could be more important than any new passenger car and now Hyundai has presented an option that looks like it could work.
“Hyundai Motor has achieved a lot in the eco-friendly vehicle field, but we will never stand still,” said Mr Yeongduck Tak, Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Vehicle R&D at Hyundai. “We continue to invest heavily to ensure zero-emission technology for all commercial vehicles.”
Prices are too high for EV buses right now
America’s Protera and Chinese company BYD are effectively the market leaders in electric buses, but this is a market that just hasn’t really made an impact as yet. That’s largely because the main companies simply cannot scale up the operations, which will lead to cheaper prices.
The whole life cost of an electric bus is actually on a par with a diesel when you take into account the reduced fuel costs and lower maintenance. But the price of entry to the all-electric club is making city councils baulk at the moment.
That has to change and this latest effort from Hyundai, with its 256kWh battery pack, looks like it could be a serious contender with a realistic price point.
Fittingly, the company presented the vehicle at the Hyundai Truck & Bus Mega Fair in Korea and it has promised to put the vehicle into mass production in the near future.
An about face from Hyundai?
Hyundai initially resisted battery-powered cars as it believes that, eventually, Hydrogen Fuel Cells will take over as the zero emissions fuel source of choice. It has finally accepted, though, that fuel cells will take a lot longer than it first thought to perfect.
So now it has embraced Lithium-Ion batteries, it has launched the Ioniq Electric and is getting ready with an onslaught of new cars that includes an electric SUV.
This bus, though, could have a much bigger impact on the world at large. We will watch its progress with interest.