If converting city buses to electric power is one of the most effective ways to reduce harmful pollution from particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in cities an even more effective way is to double the number of people they can carry.
London has begun converting its iconic double-decker buses to electric models made by China's BYD, and now Hyundai plans to jump into the fray with a new bus that can carry 70 passengers—not quite double what a regular bus can carry but about 1.5 times the capacity, Hyundai says.
The company introduced its new double-decker at the Land, Infrastructure, and Technology Fair in Korea last month.
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Hyundai says it has a range of about 188 miles and can fully recharge its liquid-cooled 384-kilowatt-hour in an hour and a quarter.
Its primary motivation comes from a 321-horsepower motor on the independently-sprung drive axle as well as a smaller motor to recover electricity on the third axle.
The bus is 42 feet long and just over 13 feet tall. The third axle also steers to give the bus more precise steering in tight maneuvers.
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It can accommodate 11 passengers seated on the main floor, including two "fixed-in-space" wheelchairs, and 59 more passengers on top. The floor on the bottom slides out for wheelchair access.
In a page from its recent automotive releases, Hyundai notes that the new bus will include electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking, and automatic lane assistance—perhaps even more important safety features for carrying 70 people, almost 60 of them six feet in the air.
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"The double-decker electric bus is an environmentally friendly vehicle optimized for global eco-friendly trends," said ByoungWoo Hwang, Head of Commercial Vehicle Advanced Engineering team at Hyundai Motor. "This will not only ultimately improve the air quality, but also contribute greatly to easing commuting hour traffic congestion by accommodating more passengers."
Los Angeles has also introduced its first electric double-decker bus on a commuter route from Pasadena to downtown.