Fully-electric or electric-assist powertrains present the newer automakers with a key opportunity to vault themselves forward to a primary role in the 21stcentury automotive landscape. While some companies may not have compiled the extensive resources as the established front-runners of the industry, South Korean car builder Hyundai Motors is pursuing their own “Blue Drive” strategy. Pitching their concept of emission reducing technology hybrid, electric and hydrogen concept vehicles are being given special investments as future powertrains. Witnessing the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai has decided their first real world execution of zero emissions motoring will take with all-electric small car.
Identical to Hyundai’s i10 Electric concept car (pictured in this article) which premiered exactly one year ago, the Hyundai BlueOn was formally introduced to the South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak as well as various government ministers. Substantially shorter than a Hyundai Accent at 141.1 inches in overall length, the BlueOn conveniently packages the electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. Producing power the equivalent to almost 80 horsepower and 155 pounds feet of torque, the BlueOn is not a pocket rocket but has ample gumption for city driving. Delivering 140 kilometers driving distance (89 miles), the Hyundai BlueOn can move as many as four-passengers (though lacking any dedicated cargo space).
Charging the BlueOn lithium-ion battery, operators can choose either using 220 volt electrical supply, an industrial-grade 380 volt power source. Taking 6 hours to recharge the Hyundai BlueOn with the 220 volt household current, the stronger 380 volt power allows the car’s battery to be quick charged to 80% capacity in just 25 minutes.
One of the Hyundai BlueOn’s unique features is the Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS). Addressing concerns specially uttered by visually-impaired pedestrians left without sense of an engine running, VESS adds exterior sound at low speeds to counter the inherent silence of electric cars.
With plans focused on rolling out the all-electric vehicle within their domestic Asian market first, 30 Hyundai BlueOn will be produced and entrusted to evaluate the electric car infrastructure in South Korea. Among the BlueOn fleets mileage will be serving as a diplomatic role in the capital city of Seoul shuttling dignitaries during the G20 Summit upcoming in November. After the field testing, Hyundai plans to expand the BlueOn to 2,500 units a year by 2012. It is unknown to date when or if United States customers can expect the Hyundai BlueOn as a zero-emissions vehicle choice.