Seoul starts commercial operation of battery electric buses; planning for 120K electric vehicles by 2020
|One of the electric buses. Click to enlarge.|
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has started commercial operation of full-size battery electric buses on the Mt. Namsan circular routes as of 21 December. SMG has worked on the project to develop full-sized electric buses with local technology over the last one and a half years since signing an agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Fiber for the development of electric buses in September 2009.
SMG has set a goal of putting a total of 120,000 electric vehicles in use in the city by 2020, which will account for 50% of all public transport vehicles, 10% of sedans and 1% of trucks and vans.
The electric coaches now serving on the Mt. Namsan circular routes are 11.05 meters long and run up to 83 km (52 miles) with a single charge. They can be fully charged in less than 30 minutes with a high-speed battery charger. The electric bus, with a maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), has a low floor and a 240 kW motor. It features a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and a regenerative braking system.
Its body is made of a carbon composite material which considerably reduces the vehicle’s weight while reinforcing durability. The electric buses are also equipped with automatic slant boards for wheelchair users.
SMG has replaced five buses on the Namsan circular routes with electric vehicles. It plans to gradually substitute all 14 buses with electric coaches to minimize any inconvenience of citizens that may be caused by the introduction of the new buses. It also plans to build two more battery chargers on Namsan by March 2011, increasing the number from two to four.