The Seoul government said Wednesday that it has started the pilot operation of fuel-cell electric bus for a regular route, in an effort to test the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles as public transportation in the city.
The zero-emission bus developed by Hyundai Motor will travel from Yeomgok-dong, southern Seoul, to City Hall, four to five times a day. Five other major cities will also have a combined 30 hydrogen buses for pilot operations next year, said officials at the trade and environment ministries.
City bus No. 405 powered by hydrogen on its first day of a pilot operation in Seoul (Hyundai Motor)
Marking the first pilot run of a hydrogen bus in the capital city, a group of 13 companies announced their participation in a special purpose corporation aimed at building hydrogen infrastructure. The companies will invest a combined 135 billion won ($119 million) for the special purpose corporation, named HyNet, said Hyundai Motor, a leading company in the venture. The list of companies includes Korea Gas Corp., Air Liquide, Hyosung Heavy Industries and Kolon Industries.
HyNet will participate in government-commissioned projects to build hydrogen-refilling stations and other infrastructure. Australian energy firm Woodside and Norwegian hydrogen technology firm Nel have also joined the hydrogen alliance.
The central government also agreed to work with municipalities and Hyundai Motor to promote the use of hydrogen buses as public transportation.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)