Hyundai’s First Electric Minibus
Hyundai recently released its new electric minibus, which is a first for the company. This new minibus dubbed the “County Electric,” was introduced for the Korean market as an economical alternative to diesel-powered buses.
Hyundai Electric Minibus Specs, Battery, and Range
This minibus is about 7,710 mm, which equates to around 25 ft. A 128-kWh lithium-ion-polymer battery powers the County Electric. This battery setup is good for 250 km of range or 155 miles. Seating will range between 15-33 seats, which doesn’t sound like much; however, this is a minibus. It is smart to start with a minibus for this battery technology than a more massive full-size bus.
The new battery pack can be fully charged in a reasonable 72 minutes using a standard Combo 1 DC system, or 150kW charging. If a regular household 220V outlet gets used, charging this bus will take 17 hours. Both options not as quick as a pitstop, but it’s one step closer to being green, right? There’s still nobody talking about where these car manufacturers are going to get these batteries and how to dispose of them, whatever, though.
On the bright side, the County Electric is quick. Hyundai says, “Within the 50 to 80 km/h range, County Electric provides 30-percent faster acceleration than diesel models.” So about 31-49 mph driving, the electric minibus is faster than the conventional diesel bus. Not bad.
Hyundai Electric Minibus Safety Features
Because the County Electric weighs more than a standard minibus, the County Electric comes fitted with an electronically controlled, air-over-hydraulic (AOH) brake system. Whatever that is, the County Electric is also equipped with better brake discs to handle the weight and provide the necessary stopping power for this new electric minibus.
Something that is missing in a lot of buses is safety. Hyundai made sure to equip the County Electric with plenty of safety features for the driver and the passengers. Sensors are placed all around the bus to help when passengers are entering and exiting the bus. The doors are smart enough to not close on people are trap people’s bodies as they get on and off the bus.
Additional safety features include a sensor on the acceleration pedal to stop the bus from proceeding if the passenger movement is detected. Fake engines get played to warn pedestrians and the constant beeping when the bus is in reverse. Some more advanced safety features for the passengers include a new seat belt system that reduces abdominal pressure when the bus performs an emergency braking test. Being an electric battery as opposed to a diesel engine means there is more space inside the bus for passengers, making exiting and entry easier.
All Hyundai Electric Minibus Features
Listed below are all of the features of County Electric:
• 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
Hyundai Electric Minibus Conclusion
So why does this bus matter to us in the States? Well, Hyundai and Kia are serious about being one of the top EV manufacturers by 2025. This minibus shows us Hyundai is committed to EV vehicles and will be the future moving forward. Expect to see many more affordable EV cars from Hyundai soon, and maybe even a minibus in the States.
Read about Hyundai-Kia's latest strategy for improving EV tech here.
Kevin Meyn is an automotive journalist for Torque News concentrating on Hyundai content. Kevin is the founder of Exhaust Sports Auto Youtube channel, where he does professional car reviews on new and used vehicles. Through the use of various resources and extended Automotive expertise, Kevin documents the latest in automotive news revolving around Hyundai. Kevin graduated from NC State University studying Supply Chain Management but has had a passion for cars since he was a child. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Instagram @exhaustsports.