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Hyundai introduces Korea’s first CNG hybrid bus

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.



South Korea rocks! Government subsidies or not, south Korea has some amazing companies who put out amazing products. This is good for the world.

Alex Kovnat

If the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is so great as to justify 35 or more miles per gallon CAFE, then its great enough to justify American public transit agencies purchasing this Hyundai compressed natural gas hybrid bus.

Unfortunately, the same kind of activist personalities who demand such high CAFE for other people's cars, may also deny us the benefits of said hybrid-CNG bus in the name of buying American, saving jobs, or reducing the trade deficit. It would be truly a frustration if our urban transit agencies were not allowed to purchase this bus, just to satisfy these peoples' power and ego trips.

Steve Yaffe

Alex: An American company does make CNG-hybrids, DesignLine USA in Charlotte NC. However, the House of Representatives is promulgating a proposal to cancel TIGGER and other funding which would support replacement of standard buses with vehicles such as these.

Judging from the picture, the CNG tanks look like they are roof-mounted. South Korea has had some unfortunate experiences with CNG tanks mounted under the bus.

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