The city government of Seoul is to expand its fleet of clean buses with compressed natural gas-electric hybrid buses, planning to add 2,100 low-floor vehicles to its fleet by 2018. The acquisition will commence with 20 buses before end of 2014. Furthermore, Seoul Metropolitan Government will soon have a 100% CNG fleet of Inter-city/village/tour buses and garbage trucks, replacing the last 13 diesel buses by the end of this year.
The introduction of CNG hybrids follows a successful trial from July to October 2013, of seven hybrid buses. CNG hybrid buses use electricity when operating at low speed or when idling, and CNG when moving at a faster pace, saving fuel costs and emitting less air pollutants compared with the dedicated CNG buses that are used for public transportation at present.
Results from the 2013 trial showed 34.5 percent increased fuel efficiency and 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions among CNG hybrids compared to their non-hybrid counterparts, officials said.
The city government says 2,100 CNG hybrid buses will save a total of 226.8 billion won (USD 219 million) and cut emissions including nitrogen oxide by 3,124 tons over nine years. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Ministry of Environment will contribute KRW 40 million per vehicle on a 50:50 basis with the balance of funds coming from the Korea Finance Corporation (KoFC)’s ‘Green Car Fund.’ The KoFC investment will be repaid from fuel savings.
At the end of 2013, Korea had 34,297 CNG buses and 189 CNG stations.