It's not just cars that are getting electric power these days. Manufacturers are keen to expand their EV (electric vehicle) portfolio by coming up with electric-powered commercial vehicles. Hyundai is one of them, and their latest EV is the County Electric minibus.
Hyundai isn't the first to come up with electric minibusses, but the County Electric does offer several advantages over its diesel-fed version. Of course, the biggest benefit of the Country Electric over the standard model is emissions. But Hyundai says the advantage of having an electric motor over the diesel engine is the packaging. Because there is no engine at the back, it allows more space for the rearmost occupants of the bus.
While minibusses aren't meant to do acceleration pulls, Hyundai says there is a significant improvement over standard County. The South Korean automaker mentions that it can get from 50 to 80 km/h “30 percent” faster than a County turbo-diesel. It could be said that it still won't be a fast vehicle, but overtaking might be easier with this electric powertrain.
Powering the County Electric is a 128 kWh battery which is then attached to an electric motor powering the rear wheels. Hyundai claims it can go as far as 250 kilometers on a single full charge and the batteries can be topped up in as little as 72 minutes with a 150 kW charger. 220 volt charging on the other hand takes 17 hours. There is no mention of power or performance data, but Hyundai maintains that it is faster than the diesel, as mentioned above. However, they did say that the County Electric is restricted to 80 km/h.
Aside from that, the County Electric is also equipped with various safety systems. It has stability control as standard, as well as a roll prevention system. Traction control is also equipped in the County Electric. It even has an ultrasonic sensor that prevents the bus from moving forward when movement within the minibus is detected. This is to ensure everyone is safely in place before the vehicle sets off.
Like the standard model, this electric minibus can come in a variety of seating arrangements and capacities. At the very least, the County Electric can be fitted with seating for 15 passengers. In its top configuration, it can hold up to 33 passengers.
Should the County Electric be a commercial success, it might just change the way shuttles within cities operate. Not only will it be quieter and cleaner to run than old buses, but it could also pave the way for more electric minibusses in the future.