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Three years after introducing its first fuel cell bus to the world, Hyundai Motor Company today unveiled its second generation hydrogen fuel cell bus (or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) at the Seoul Motor Show in South Korea taking another major step forward to cleaner air and energy independence.
The hydrogen distribution infrastructure needed to support hydrogen fuel cell electric buses is seen as feasible to set up, as buses typically operate on fixed routes and need at most only two refuelling points - one at each end of the route.
Based on the latest Low Floor Aero City bus platform, the newest fuel cell electric bus features numerous technical refinements which have increased the maximum speed to 100 km/h. This improves on the 75 km/h limit of the previous system which relied on a single 240 kW motor. Under the new architecture, three 100 kW Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors are arranged in parallel to provide a total of 300 kW of propulsion for a 33 percent improvement in top speed. Also, the new motor specification will contribute to improved system reliability due to the separate operability of the three motors.
Great strides have also been made in improving supercapacitor efficiency. Used to store electrical energy for acceleration from a dead stop and for "energy smoothing," the new supercapacitors are significantly lighter and more compact than the first generation design. The heart of the system is a 200 kW fuel cell power plant which was upgraded from its previous version of 160kW system in 2007 by Hyundai engineers at Hyundai's Eco-Technology Research Centre in Mabuk, located on the outskirts of Seoul.
Hyundai's first fuel cell electric bus made its international debut in 2006 at the FIFA World Cup where it served as a VIP shuttle bus around Munich, Germany.
Currently, two of Hyundai's first generation fuel cell electric buses are in the FCEV Demonstration and Evaluation Program which is supported by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of Korea. Initiated in 2006, the monitoring project is scheduled to conclude next year.
The next major step forward will come in late 2010 when a fleet of second generation buses will be put into daily service in cities around Korea in line with the government's recently declared "Green Growth" goals. Details of the second phase program are currently being negotiated by the various ministries, municipal authorities and bus fleet operators.
Compressed hydrogen fuel is stored on the roof in six cylinders pressurized to 350 bar (5000 psi) providing the bus with an operating range of 360km (in city mode).
2nd Generation Fuel Cell Electric Bus Specifications
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