|The Blue-City CNG hybrid bus. Click to enlarge.|
Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, unveiled the nation’s first CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) hybrid bus, “Blue-City”. This is the first time a major automaker independently developed both the system and body for such a vehicle.
The hybrid bus is equipped with a G-CNG Engine that offers 177 kW (237 hp) and a 6-speed automated manual transmission, plus a 60kW electric drive motor and 3.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. Hyundai will operate 30 test units of Blue-City in selected metropolitan areas from July, with plans to mass produce the vehicles in 2012.
Despite cutting down the total number of gaseous fuel tanks to five from seven (total capacity of 770L), Blue-City can still operate 340 km (211 miles) on a single fueling, which is equivalent to the existing CNG bus. Furthermore, while its climbing performance of 30% is similar to a conventional CNG bus, the maximum speed stands at 100 km/h (62 mph), which is ideal for a metro bus, according to Hyundai.
The fuel efficiency of ‘Blue-City’ is about 30-40% higher than that of normal CNG buses, enabling metro bus operators to save on operational costs.
In terms of CO2 emissions, the CNG hybrid bus emits more than 24% less CO2 (equivalent to about 33 tons per year/vehicle) than a conventional CNG bus and 35% less than a diesel bus.
Since launching its sub-brand Blue Drive in 2008, Hyundai Motor has showcased a wide range of models including hybrids, electric vehicles and fuel-cell electric vehicles such as the Avante LPi hybrid (earlier post) and the Sonata gasoline hybrid (earlier post).
Last year Hyundai also delivered 30 full-speed electric vehicles badged as BlueOn to the government, as well as an electric metro bus named Elec-City, for test operations.