By on September 17, 2010

Hyundai demands its fair share of a market that doesn’t exist. The Koreans are stepping up the development of EVs. Two days ago, Hyundai held a test drive event in the suburbs of Seoul. The invitees could drive a (blue is the new green) Hyundai BlueOn EV. The Nikkei [sub], who was invited, reports:

“The BlueOn accelerates smoothly to over 100kph and the inside is quiet, free from engine noise. It climbs steep slopes without a problem. Though a certain instability unique to small cars is evident, the vehicle’s performance appears no different than that of a gas-powered car.”

A Japanese news service praising a Korean car? Hyundai must be doing something right. According to The Nikkei, the BlueOn contains all South Korean technology. Its 61kw Hyosung motor brings it in 13.1 seconds to 100kph. Maximum speed is 130kph. The lithium-ion battery is made by SK Energy, the inverter hails from LS Industrial Systems.

At the meeting, Hyundai said that the car leaves a rival in the dust. Although the rival was not mentioned, the data displayed was immediately recognized as the stats of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV,

The BlueOn might be better than the Japanese competition, but it is plagued by the disease that has affected EVs around the world: Price.

The BlueOn’s production costs are believed to be about the same as those of a large luxury sedan. In order to not lose too much money, Hyundai plans to sell 2,500 electric vehicles by 2012. A price has not been decided yet.

South Korea’s government plans to replace 20 percent of the country’s passenger cars with EVs by 2020.

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5 Comments on “Hyundai Joins EV Fray...”

  • avatar

    I assume Hyundai’s comment about leaving “a rival in the dust” is purely related to acceleration.  This would not be surprising given that the electric motor in the Hyundai is a lot more powerful that the unit in the Mitsubishi (ie, 30% more power output / almost 20% more torque).  The other specifications (ie, maximum speed, charge time, range, etc…) seem very comparable between the two cars.
    On the issue of electric vehicles has TTAC heard about the UBC students who crossed Canada in a converted EV VW Beetle.  They drove 6,500 kilometers from Vancouver, BC to Halifax, NS in just over two weeks.  It’s the first time a fully electric vehicle has crossed the country.
    It is interesting to note that the specs of the EV Beetle are in some ways better than those of the Hyundai BlueOn and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.  The Beetle charges in only four hours (ie, versus seven for the Mitsubishi and six plus for the Hyundai).  The Beetle’s range is about 300 kilometers at highway speeds and around 550 kilometers in the city.  Top speed for the Beetle is around ten kilometers per hour faster than the Hyundai and Mitsubishi.  I’m sure the Hyundai and Mitsubishi have better acceleration and are more reliable, but it’s strange that they are otherwise less capable that a car put together by Engineering students.
    More information about the EV Beetle is available here:

  • avatar

    EVs are coming.  They will not dominate for decades, but they are coming.  US companies need to be an integral part of it.  We should dominate as the innovators that he have always been.  It seems as though there has been a shift away from American innovation to American off shoring so CEOs can make millions/billions screwing investment into R&D.

  • avatar

    “South Korea’s government plans to replace 20 percent of the country’s passenger cars with EVs by 2020.”
    That ‘plan’ sounds similar to the ill-fated plan California once had, but was forced to change, since real, paying customers still prefer the practicality of internal combustion.

  • avatar

    It is doable in Korea.  A third of the population lives in Greater Seoul and for that 140km is overkill. Busan, the other big city on the other side of the country is only 2 refuelings away. In fact i think the almost the whole country is 2 refuelings away with 140km batteries, Add an electrified highway and 200km batteries and everything is reachable in 1 recharge which is even good enough for a 1 car family.

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