Hyundai has been making some sizable moves in the electric vehicle space, last year unveiling a full lineup of electric IONIQs and even an electrified scooter to go with it. It is now setting its sights on zero-emission public transit with its first electric bus, and its claimed range is nothing to sneeze at.
The diesel-powered buses that roam many of the world's cities are a bit of a problem. One of the reasons for this is the nitrogen oxides that are released through the burning of the fuel, which are strong oxidizing agents that mix with volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere to create the type of smog that famously clouds city skylines in Los Angeles and Beijing.
Respiratory problems, headaches, heart disease and cancer are all problems that can arise from this type of pollution, and there may be a lot more of it about than we even realize. A comprehensive study last month found that real-world emissions from diesel vehicles have been underestimated by as much as 50 percent, linking the pollution that had gone unaccounted for with 38,000 premature deaths in 2015.
Converting city buses to electricity could help us cut down on these harmful emissions, and they mightn't be bad for a city's bottom line either. While the initial costs will be much higher, research has shown that these can be paid back over time by savings in fuel and maintenance. And that's to say nothing of the savings on health care.
So it is good news that more and more companies are looking for cleaner alternatives. Hyundai's so-called Elec City is its first mass-produced electric bus, and runs on a 256-kWh battery with range listed as 290 mi (466 km). If the bus does make its way to the US, its competitors will include the Proterra Catalyst E2 which despite having a claimed nominal range of 194 to 350 mi (312 to 563 km), has logged more than 600 mi (966 km) on a single charge under test conditions. The Lion Bus and the EZ10 in Switzerland are a couple of other examples of electric buses currently undergoing trials around the world.
Details beyond that are scarce, but Hyundai does say an official launch for the Elec City is coming in 2018.