Environment-friendly electric buses will be available in Seoul from November 2010. The buses do not emit air pollutants.
Seoul Metropolitan City said on June 24 that the development of electric buses has been completed by Hankuk Fiber and Hyundai Heavy Industries, and 15 buses will be available in Namsan Mountains. Electric buses never emit dust, smoke, and carbon dioxide. They don’t produce heat or gas emitted from CNG buses.
A 20-minute-long speedy charging will make them run 120km, and the maximum speed is 100km per hour. The 15 electric buses to be introduced firstly will be stationed in three bus routes of Namsan Mountain as a new tourist attraction. The city will provide electric buses more actively from 2011 and plans to increase the number to 3,800, a half of the total number of all buses by 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emission by about 140,000 tons per year.
Charging facilities and smart chargers for electric cars will be installed in 25 Gu(local) offices and parking lots at large marts.
Seoul Metropolitan City and Gu offices decided to designate a test trial period until the end of 2010 and will provide charging service for free during this period.
Black Box Installation Spread to Personal Automobiles
The Ministry of Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs officially announced that starting next year commercial vehicles will be required to install digital tachograph (DTG), a device that counts engine rotations, mph, brakes, and accelerator of the automobile. The Government explained that the decision was mainly due to the fact that the device allows drivers to drive with more caution and safety.
As the news was formalized, similar black box-functioning devices are being manufactured and distributed to personal vehicles as well. Additionally, with insurance companies offering benefits to those vehicles with on board devices (OBD), black box makers such as Autus are actively engaging in distribution of their products. 400,000 to 500,000 vehicle owners from Seoul and other metropolitan cities are expected to purchase the device.
Bae Hyo-su, a former president of Korea Telematics Business Association and now president of Korea Electric Vehicles Industry Association, said, “Any device that keeps track of the vehicles’ activities will prevent reckless driving and reduce accidents.”
SKT and Kia Motors Start Joint Marketing
On July 7, Kia Motors and SK Telecom signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a strategic allied marketing.
Through the alliance, the two companies are to strengthen their cooperation in diverse fields; including promotions linked with high-tech IT devices like smart phones and joint developments of new car applications for smart phone use.
As the first step of the allied marketing, the two sides will unfold “The Smart Car-Smartphone Festival” utilizing the Smartphone Galaxy-S. The festival will provide installments for the Galaxy-S terminals, which are smart phones of Samsung Electronics, to the customers purchasing a car of Kia Motors (Passenger cars, RV’s) in the two months of July and August this year.
In addition, when the vehicle is released, a discount of 100,000 won is provided. Especially, to the customers of K5, the “K5 vehicle control kit” which is an exclusive application, will be loaded onto the Galaxy-S.
Kia Motors and SK Telecom plan to develop diverse applications for vehicles. They also plan to set up T Wi-Fi zones at the car company’s over 800 sales and repair bases throughout the nation, where wireless super high-speed Internet can be used.
Italy’s 3-wheel Automobile to Be Manufactured in Korea as Electric Vehicles
Italy’s popular 3-wheel vehicle APE, which is manufactured by Piaggio Group, will be mass produced in Korea as electric vehicles. Domestic electric vehicle producer ATTR&D (CEO Kim Man-sik) announced its plan to import the Italian vehicle and modify it into electricity-operated vehicles. ATTR&D’s Italian alliance company Archimede Energia has previously succeeded in exporting 110 units of electrically modified APE to governmental agencies.
Supply and demand of spare parts of the vehicle will not be difficult since APE has been in popular demand for over 60 years in Italy, mainly due to its economic feasibility. The modified version of APE will hold a classic Italian exterior but the interior will consist of 9kW water-cooled motor and 2kW lithium polymer battery.
ATTR&D has set the initial sale price at 6 million won (US$ 5,000). The company plans to further expand the electric modification technology to agricultural machinery and 2-wheel vehicles once they see success of their upcoming project.
CEO Kim showed his ambitions for the future by saying, “3-wheel electric vehicles will prove highly efficient as freight vehicles that can be used in various businesses and we plan to advance forward with familiarizing the public of electric vehicles.”
An Electronic Vehicle Promotion Foundation to Be Established in September
According to industry sources, there was a big stride in the efforts to establish a foundation to expand the sluggish electric vehicle (EV) market. The foundation, scheduled to launch in September this year, is likely to take the form of special purpose corporation. About ten large companies involved in the business of charging facilities and services for EVs such as LG Chemical, SK Energy and KEPCO-KDN will take the leading roles in the endeavor.
The industry expected that the establishment of the foundation would prompt an expansion of charging facilities, creating new demand for public EVs and spreading the EV-based mass transportation system.
One-Person Electric Vehicle Hit the Road
On July 12, Pyung Hwa Industrial, Revo Tech, Motorwel and Daegu Machinery Institute of Components and Materials announced they would develop electric vehicle designed for one person equipped with omni-wheels by 2012.
This is part of the research and development program driven by the Leading Industry Development for the Daegyeong (Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province) Economic Region.
They would adopt variable seats for the vehicle as is seen in i-REAL, Toyota’s concept car for one person. The height of the seat would rise at a walking speed so that the driver would talk with a passer-by and at a higher speed, 20km/h at max, to move the center of gravity down to increase safety.
The one-person electric vehicle would be equipped with four omni-wheels that roll back and forth and slide laterally with great ease enabling easy moving and parking in small space. It can move automatically along the preset routes and does not generate pollution. Driving distance per charge is 40 kilometers at max making it a good method of transportation for short-distance trips in shopping malls, corporate sites, college campuses or air ports. The companies, once the vehicle is put into practical use, will first tap into the electric wheelchair market for the physically challenged or senior citizens before advancing into the general market.
“One-person electric vehicle, which offers a totally different mode of transportation, will automatically carry you to a community grocery store at one touch. Once used in everyday life, it will become very popular,” Jang Jung-un, CEO of Revo said.
CT&T to Produce Electric Buses Early Next Year
Electric car maker CT&T (CEO Lee Young-ki) announced its plans to expand its area of expertise onto electric buses on July 12. The company will mass-produce a 20-seater bus with steel and aluminum chassis along with ultra-light canvas. Such measures reduce the weight of the vehicle by 40%. Maximum speed of the vehicle is estimated at 80km. Standard models of the bus will be able to travel 80km one a single charge and luxury models will travel up to 120km.
CT&T plans to produce 8,000 electric vehicles for its trial release, mostly made up of school buses and town shuttle buses. The company emphasized that although there have been cases where the buses were remodeled; this is a first time for Korea to develop a new model of electric bus with its own chassis.
CT&T also aims to provide electric buses as means to transport foreign diplomatic VIP’s during the G20 summit in November.
Electric car maker ATTR&D (CEO Kim Man-sik), in partnership with three other automobile design expert companies, will make a consortium devoted to developing a 6-passenger electric taxi.
The taxi vehicle will be made from an original design with its own distinguished chassis. ATTR&D plans to release the automobile to the public early next year.
100kW water cooling A/C motor will hold the same driving power as a 2000cc engine. The vehicle will also contain a lithium battery pack with a life period of 5 years. The maximum speed is estimated to be around 120km per hour and the taxi will be able to travel 200km on a single charge.
ATTR&D is mainly targeting taxi companies in countries such as Turkey, Malaysia, and China where the company has its manufacture facilities. The estimated selling price of the taxi is 40 million won which is about twice the price of current non-electric vehicles used for taxis. However, the company explains that the vehicle will save fuel costs to level out the initial price difference.
CEO Kim Man-sik noted, “Electric taxis do not use engines and transmissions that have been standardized, therefore it offers more freedom in terms of design and construction.” He further added, “There are more demands for electric taxis as compared to electric passenger vehicles, which is the reason why we have decided to go forward with this project.”