Hyundai unveils BlueOn, its first pure electric vehicle

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 9, 2010

Hyundai put itself at the forefront of the eco-car market with the BlueOn fully electric vehicle, which it debuted at none other than South Korea’s presidential residence, the Blue House. The unveiling featured more than 50 prominent people in attendance, including South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak himself.

The BlueOn is one of the products of a 40-billion-won investment by the company. The prototype for the BlueOn was the i10 hatchback. The development of the BlueOn took more than a year, but was finally completed in a ceremony that had President Lee ride one of the vehicles that were brought to the Blue House event together with Hyundai’s R&D vice president Dr. Hyun-Soon Lee.

After the unveiling, Hyundai went on to supply a fleet of 30 BlueOn units intended for use by governmental organizations in South Korea. This is part of the “beta testing” phase wherein Hyundai researched and obtained information to further develop the essential accessories for the electric vehicle.

The test phase was set to be concluded by August 2012. During that period, Hyundai also assisted the South Korean government on an extensive marketing campaign to showcase the country’s efforts towards becoming eco-friendlier. During the unveiling, Hyundai VP Lee stated that it is “critical” for any entity claiming to be an industry leader to be able to exert efforts towards reducing carbon emissions and taking advantage of clean energy sources to power its vehicles.

Lee then expressed his company’s commitment to answer its consumers’ demand for eco-friendly cars and to step up to the challenge of reducing its vehicles’ carbon footprint. Indeed, Hyundai’s choice for naming its innovative electric car is indicative of its dedication to the effort to become eco-friendlier.

It named the car after its Blue Drive strategy to achieve eco-friendliness, and the act of “switching on” an electric appliance. At the core of Hyundai’s electric core are lightweight and space-saving LiPoly batteries. These batteries have excellent power capacity without being bulky.

That’s what sets it apart from the nickel-metal hydride batteries previously used in automobiles. The 16.4 kilowatt-hour LiPoly batteries also deliver exceptional performance through the electric motor. The BlueOn’s powertrain can deliver 81ps or 61 kilowatts maximum.

For an electric vehicle, the BlueOn’s acceleration is impressive. It takes roughly 13.1 seconds to jump from a standstill to a speed of 100 kilometers per hour. This means that the BlueOn’s batteries have better acceleration performance than gas engines in the hatchback class.

As for top speed, you have 130 kilometers per hour to play with. Fast, but definitely safe – the BlueOn’s safety features have been rigorously tested during the design and manufacturing process. Hyundai also made sure that the vehicle emits enough of a sound to warn pedestrians that the BlueOn is incoming.

After all, the use of an electric battery eliminates engine rumbling when the car is driving real slow. This is all possible thanks to the Virtual Engine Sound System technology. The BlueOn also has exceptional battery performance. A single charge can mean around 140 kilometers’ driving distance.

Best thing about it is that an ordinary 220-volt power outlet can juice up the batteries when you run out. It takes but six hours for the 16.4 kWh batteries to reach full charge, so you can be back on the road while you are, say, at your office. For emergency purposes, a 380V power source can make fast charging possible – it can provide 80% of the battery capacity in a charging period of roughly half an hour.

BlueOn has the following dimensions: 3,585 millimeter overall length and 1,595 millimeters of width. It also has a riding height of 1,540 millimeters. Inside the car, drivers have access to an information system that’s mated to the car’s dashboard.

From the dashboard, the driver can find out just how much power his car has left remaining. If the battery reaches dangerously low levels, the system will inform the person behind the wheel where to drive to get the powertrain charged.

The system can also provide voice-based information using a 4.2-inch TFT LCD Supervision Cluster. Other specifications for the BlueOn include a power steering system that also runs in electric power, and a water pump that runs entirely on electricity as well. The regenerative braking system has also been configured to be compatible with BlueOn’s all-electric systems as well.

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

(Seoul, Korea) 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 Motor Group

Hyundai plans to expand its manufacturing capabilities for BlueOn next year, carrying out test productions. The Hyundai Motor Group plans to make about 2,500 units by the end of 2012, which will be supplied to government agencies.

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