Electric Hyundai double-decker bus could be the future of public transport

Diesel buses are one of the biggest contributors of urban vehicle emissions, so bus manufacturers are cleaning up their act and launching electric alternatives. South Korea’s Hyundai – which is involved in everything from financial services to shipbuilding, besides producing the cars we’re familiar with – has thrown it’s hat into the ring with this 70-seat electric double-decker bus.

Developed with support from South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, it’s one of the most advanced electric buses we’ve come across.

It’s powered by a 384 kWh polymer battery pack powering a 240kW motor on the second axle. Hyundai claims a range of 186 miles with a charging time of 72 minutes. That’s a big range and a fast charge for a bus.

Clearly this bus is intended for routes between towns rather than short city centre routes. It certainly looks more like a coach than the double-decker buses we’re used to in the UK.

It seats 70 passengers, 11 downstairs and 59 upstairs. There’s space for two wheelchairs on the lower deck, too.

The bus gets independent front suspension, third-axle steering and many safety systems including lane keeping assist.

And, not that this sort of thing really matters, we reckon it looks pretty good, too.

Interestingly, Britain’s ADL unveiled its new electric double-decker bus at the same time Hyundai dropped its. ADL’s Enviro 400EV (the red bus pictured below) uses a chassis and powertrain developed by Chinese EV specialist BYD and has a range of 150 miles. Charging time hasn’t been mentioned, though it should be relatively quick to maximise the time it’s on the road.

The UK’s other two bus builders, Wright and Optare, also produce electric and hybrid buses using powertrains made up of proprietary components. This writer has professional experience of early Wright hybrids and they are, frankly, rubbish.

The UK’s cities and towns will soon be full of electric buses. Will Hyundai’s be among them? Probably not, actually, as British bus companies generally prefer to buy British buses. Despite the fact that those produced by Volvo, Mercedes, MAN and Scania are much better.

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By Graham King

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