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Hyundai Motor Set to Launch Electric Buses in Japan, Eyeing Regional and Tourist Transport

Hyundai’s Elec City Town bus gears up for the Japanese market, aligning with eco-friendly initiatives and the rising demand for sustainable public transport solutions
South Korea
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Hyundai Motor is gearing up to introduce its Elec City Town electric buses in Japan this fall, targeting the transportation needs of local communities and tourist areas outside major urban centers. Cho Won Sang, the president of Hyundai Mobility Japan, revealed that this move aims to cater to the diverse mobility demands, with the bus already sparking interest in various sectors, including tourism.

The Elec City Town, a midsized 9-meter long bus, promises a range of 220 kilometers per charge, positioning it as a viable option for routes in remote areas as well as tourist hotspots. Adapted for the Japanese market, the bus will adhere to local charging protocols and feature a right-hand drive configuration, aligning with Japan’s automotive standards.

While the exact pricing for the Japanese market remains undisclosed, the model is priced at around $300,000 in South Korea. Hyundai’s foray into Japan’s electric bus market builds on its experience with the heavy-duty Universe models and marks a significant shift towards electrification, with plans to explore further expansions, including a 10-seater electric multi-purpose vehicle and potentially integrating advanced autonomous driving technologies.

This strategic expansion comes at a critical time, as Japan confronts the environmental impacts of its transportation sector, which significantly contributes to the country’s CO2 emissions. With the Nihon Bus Association’s ambitious goal to deploy 10,000 electric buses by 2030 and current electric buses constituting a mere fraction of the national fleet, Hyundai’s entry could accelerate Japan’s transition to cleaner transportation modes.

The Japanese government’s enhanced subsidies, covering up to half the cost of electric buses, underscore the commitment to boosting sustainable transport, despite the challenges of post-pandemic recovery and the existing dominance of diesel buses. With competitive pressures from established manufacturers and the high costs associated with electric vehicles, Hyundai’s move signals a pivotal shift towards innovative, eco-friendly transport solutions in Japan’s evolving market.

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