Motor Co. Ltd. unveils its first production electric vehicle, the BlueOn, and says it plans to build 2,500 units for both fleet demonstration and retail customers by the end of 2012.
“The 2,500 figure is cumulative and includes 30 vehicles to be produced this year,” a spokesman tells Ward’s. “It is not clear when retail sales will begin, probably sometime in 2012.”
All of the vehicles will be manufactured in South Korea, but the auto maker does not disclose at which plant.
The first 30 BlueOns will be produced by October and used in demonstration fleets over the next two years to help develop and test Korea's EV infrastructure.
The vehicles also will be utilized as courtesy cars at the G-20 Summit, to be held Nov.11-12 in Seoul with U.S. President Obama and 19 other world leaders in attendance.
The BlueOn officially debuted today at the Cheong Wa Dae, which is Korea’s equivalent of the White House, where South Korean President Lee Myung-bak test drove the EV.
“We are proud to introduce the world to BlueOn, which was fully developed in Korea and displays’s latest technological advancements,” says Lee hyun-soon, Hyundai vice chairman in charge of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group’s research and development center in Namyang.
“Consumer interest and demand for eco-friendly cars is rising and securing such advanced technology is critical in becoming an industry leader,” he adds. “Hyundai is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint and satisfying market needs.”
South Korean President Lee tells reporters at the event he hopes the country will lead the budding global EV market one day. “The age of electric cars is approaching faster than expected.
“If this electric vehicle is of higher quality than the one from Japan, it is a great achievement,” he says, referring to thei-MiEV introduced in March.
The i-MiEV has a slightly shorter driving range than the BlueOn, a Hyundai spokesman says.
The BlueOn is based on the Hyundai i10 and is powered by a 16.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that develops a maximum 82 hp and 155 lb.-ft. (210 Nm) of torque.
The car attains a maximum speed of 81 mph (130 km/h) and reaches 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 13.1 seconds. Hyundai notes the acceleration rate is better than some gasoline-powered vehicles in the compact class.
The BlueOn has passed “hundreds of thousands of kilometers” of endurance testing, Hyundai says in a statement. It has a range of 87 miles (140 km) on a single charge.
The battery pack can be fully recharged by 220V household current in six hours or 80% recharged in 25 minutes using 380V power outlets, the auto maker says.
The EV features electric power steering, electric water pump and a regenerative brake system that helps to recharge the batteries while driving.
A Ministry of Knowledge Economy news release says with the introduction of the BlueOn, electric-vehicle production now is three years ahead of the government’s planning schedule. The new target for mass production target now is set for 2015.The government also says it will pay a portion of the price for EVs purchased by federal departments.
The BlueOn was developed over a 1-year period by Hyundai and its supplier partners at an overall cost of 40 billion won ($34.3 million), the auto maker says.