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Hyundai has unveiled the BlueOn, which it claims is South Korea's first full-speed battery electric vehicle (EV). The tiny BlueOn is based on the Hyundai's i10 minicar and was first shown as a prototype at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show when it was called the i10 Electric. The little EV is equipped with a 16.4 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack but other than the capacity, Hyundai hasn't announced details about the battery yet. The pack will probably come from LG Chem, which also supplies lithium polymer energy storage for the Sonata hybrid and Chevrolet Volt.

Hyundai began development of the BlueOn a little over one year ago and has invested about $34 million in the program. Thirty BlueOns will be supplied to South Korean government agencies for a two-year pilot program that begins next month at the G20 economic summit. The BlueOn has a nominal range of 87 miles and charges in six hours from a 220-volt outlet. If a 380-volt DC charger is available, the battery can be replenished to 80 percent charge in 25 minutes. Hyundai has equipped its EV with a Virtual Engine Sound System to create synthetic audio feedback for pedestrians as well as a telematics system to help drivers find available charging stations in the area.

[Source: Hyundai | Image: Korea Herald]

PRESS RELEASE

HYUNDAI UNVEILS ITS FIRST ELECTRIC CAR 'BLUEON'
  • `BlueOn'is Korea's first Full Speed Electric Vehicle (FSEV)
  • Hyundai's new vehicle boasts maximum speed of 130 km/h, can travel 140 km on a single charge
  • Korean President Lee Myung-Bak attends unveiling ceremony, test drive
Hyundai Motor Co. today unveiled the company's - and Korea's - first Full Speed Electric Vehicle (FSEV) named 'BlueOn,' opening a new era in eco-friendly technology.

We are proud to introduce the world to BlueOn, which was fully developed in Korea and displays Hyundai's latest technological advancements," said Dr. Hyun-Soon Lee, Vice Chairman at Hyundai's Corporate R&D Center. "Consumers' interests and demand for eco-friendly cars are rising and securing such advanced technology is critical in becoming an industry leader. Hyundai is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint and satisfying market needs."

Hyundai unveiled the car at the Blue House today, in the presence of Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and Ministers from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and Ministry of Environment. About 50 other government and electric-vehicle industry officials were also present. During the unveiling ceremony, President Lee and Hyundai's Vice Chairman Lee test drove one of the new vehicles together on the Blue House premises.

Test Fleets

Hyundai invested a total of about 40 billion won over a one year period to create BlueOn, which is based on Hyundai's small hatchback, i10. The electric version of i10 was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009.

Beginning with today's ceremony, Hyundai is planning to provide 30 BlueOn vehicles as test fleets to various government organizations in Korea by October. These vehicles will be mainly used to help develop and test charging infrastructures for about two years, until August 2012. Furthermore, these cars will be used for promotional purposes, starting with the upcoming G20 summit, to boost Korea's eco-friendly image.

The name 'BlueOn' derives from Hyundai's Blue Drive strategy, which encompasses the company's eco-friendly products and technologies. The word 'On' symbolizes "switch on."

Innovative LiPoly Batteries, Virtual Sound

BlueOn has a compact body with an overall length of 3,585 mm, overall width of 1,595 mm and overall height of 1,540 mm. It is equipped with a highly efficient electric motor powered by an innovative 16.4 kWh LiPoly (lithium-ion polymer) battery technology that offers numerous advantages over other battery types. BlueOn boasts a maximum power of 81ps(61kW) and maximum torque of 21.4kg/m(210Nm).

As pure electric vehicles operate only with the battery and electric motor, the battery's lifespan and storage capacity determines the vehicle's performance. Hyundai chose LiPoly batteries because compared with previous nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH), LiPoly delivers the same power with 30 percent less weight and 40 percent less volume, boosting efficiency and leaving more interior space for passengers.

Furthermore, the car has been designed to prevent overcharging and collision-related safety issues. Hyundai also conducted hundreds of thousands of kilometers' worth of endurance testing to secure safety. BlueOn boasts a maximum speed of 130km/h and 0-100 km/h is achieved in 13.1 seconds, better than some gasoline models in the same class.
BlueOn also features a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS), which creates an artificial sound for the safety of pedestrians, as electric vehicles make little to no sound when driving at low speeds.

Recharging

BlueOn can travel as much as 140 km on a single charge. It also accommodates dual recharging methods: a 220V household power and a 380V industrial-strength power, which promises quick recharging speeds. Under the household power, the battery will be fully recharged within six hours. Under the quick charge method, the battery can be recharged to about 80 percent of its capacity within 25 minutes. Hyundai will collaborate with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and other government agencies to build recharging facilities.

In addition, the engine-driven components were electrified so that the electric motor-driven power steering, electric water pump and regenerative brake system could be adapted to BlueOn. Furthermore, for the driver's convenience, an advanced telematics system showing the charge status and location of recharging stations is installed. A 4.2-inch TFT LCD Supervision Cluster that provides voice guidance has also been installed.

Hyundai plans to expand its manufacturing capabilities for BlueOn next year, carrying out test productions and making about 2,500 units by the end of 2012.


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  • 8 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's nice to see Hyundai entering the BEV market.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We have seen this before. Put out a small fleet of basically hand built exemplars, lease them out and parade them when it serves your purposes? Ford and Nissan seem to be able to build an EV for the mass market without such maneuvers.

      Why do some manufacturers do this? It's not like Hyundai produces small series of its gasoline engine cars for a few years before committing to the mass market?

      Is this what someone does when they are biding their time to feel where the wind is coming from and the size of the market (EV1, but also RAV4 EV and similarly Mini EV and the Honda fuel cell vehicle)? (while muttering go Leaf fail, please) Or is there another driver at work?

        • 4 Years Ago
        I mentioned Ford as the Focus EV, other than its cameos on Jay Leno, is not going to be seen except when production starts next year with a disclosed production target of 10,000 pa from my understanding.

        Its not Nissan, and even Nissan's numbers are not quite going to eclipse the Versa Sentra etc, but a target of 10,000 sold outright is a statement (albeit they are hedging potential loss a bit by co-development with Magna)
        • 4 Years Ago
        That would make sense actually, since the car has a range of only 87 miles. They're probably waiting until batteries get cheaper than they are now, while experimenting on designs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, where is this Ford EV you speak of?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford is producing no EV's in numbers. They will build a few EV's for advertisement but have no large production numbers like the Leaf. Mitsubishi has stated production numbers but not Ford. Ford has the capability of making a good EV but they will sell at a large loss, since they plan to produce few of them the losses don't matter. The green goodwill they can get out of advertisement pretending to build EV's like Nissan will be worth the losses.
      • 4 Years Ago
      the more EVs the better but it has too much of the old small, ugly and weak EV mentality.
      make it sleek instead..