Moon joins test drive of Korea’s first hydrogen-powered city bus

By Shin Ji-hye
  • Published : Jun 5, 2019 - 17:10
  • Updated : Jun 5, 2019 - 17:10

President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday joined a test drive of the nation’s first city bus powered by hydrogen and developed for commercial use, demonstrating his administration’s drive to nurture the development of fuel-cell electric vehicles.

The president took the nation’s first hydrogen bus planned for regular intracity bus service at an event held on the sidelines of World Environment Day in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. It was the third test drive of hydrogen cars for Moon, who has often touted FCEVs as a growth engine for the nation’s auto industry.

President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with one of passengers participating in a test drive of the nation‘s first hydrogen-fueled intracity bus in Changwon, some 300 kilometers south of Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Hydrogen vehicles, dubbed as next-generation cars, were one of the sectors for strategic development announced by the government early this year. Moon’s office said it would also develop the non-memory chip and bio-health sectors for the nation’s future growth.

The president has shown keen interest in the area of FCEVs, in which South Korea holds global leadership in technology and mass production. During his official visit to France last year, he took a trial ride of the Nexo, the latest FCEV developed by Hyundai Motor, in downtown Paris. He also visited a hydrogen-charging station there.

The bus Moon rode in Changwon is scheduled for commercial operation in the city starting from Thursday.

The country plans to run 35 hydrogen buses for residents in Changwon and six other cities -- Seoul, Busan, Ulsan, Gwangju, Asan and Seosan -- this year. Under its hydrogen drive, the country aims to produce a total of 1.8 million FCEVs and install 660 charging stations nationwide.

Moon said, “The past two years were a process to create a foundation necessary for the health and safety of the people, including a reduction in fine dust, the safe use of chemical materials and a response to climate change.”

“Going forward, (the government) will make every effort to make the people feel the accomplishments of (policies) to improve the environment,” he said.

Developed by Hyundai Motor, the hydrogen-powered bus debuting Thursday can travel around 450 kilometers per single charge, with a maximum speed of 92 kilometers per hour. The carmaker plans to provide more than 300 hydrogen-powered buses a year. It also plans to develop hydrogen trucks as well as hydrogen buses for police.

By Cho Chung-un (