Hyundai to launch new high power charging station Blue Plug

Hyundai Motor Group readies to deploy new high-power chargers across its home market. The new HPC columns dubbed Blue Plug shall expand the company’s E-Pit network, which has grown rather slowly and has yet to counteract Tesla’s supercharged approach in South Korea.

According to local media, Hyundai Kefico, an engine and transmission manufacturer owned by Hyundai, is seeking to get its super-fast chargers with a power output of 350 kilowatts (kW) certified with the Korean government this year.

So far, the hardware for the E-Pit hubs has come from SK Signet and EVSIS.

Meanwhile, the Korean charging network E-Pit announced by the Group in March 2021, as part of Hyundai-Kia launching their new 800-Volt architecture, is proceeding slowly. Originally, Hyundai aimed to install 120 HPC columns before the end of 2021. In fact, only 36 of them are in operation to date.

Tesla, on the other hand, already offers 106 Superchargers in South Korea.

The slow process has been credited to Hyundai’s premium approach. The Korea Daily reports that the cost of installing an E-pit exceeds the average 150 million won ($113,000) required to build an ordinary 350-kW charger.

When introducing the E-Pit plans in 2021, each “pit stop” was to comprise six high-power charging stations under a canopy. However, the Group’s photo soon showed a more conventional roof design than exhibited at the HPC launch site in Seoul. Hyundai also wanted to introduce high-end features such as automatic height adjustment, a rotating function and an auxiliary handle for the heavy charging cables.

Whether Hyundai will keep up these requirements with Kefico is unclear at this stage. The company is only known to be working on two Blue Plug versions. One uses a decidedly narrow housing offering one CCS charging cable and an upright display. The second model has a somewhat larger display mounted transversely and has two quick-charging cables. Regardless of the housing and the number of charging cables, both models seem to have a card reader. Details about the charging stations, such as power sharing when two cars are charging, remain unconfirmed. It is also unclear whether Hyundai intends to use the fast chargers outside the domestic market in the future and market them to third-party customers.

In North America, the Hyundai Group reportedly relies on cooperation with BMW, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis to set up HPC stations. These will offer CCS connectors but also NACS plugs. Tesla has managed to make its proprietary North American Charging Standard a de facto standard in recent months, primarily by promising to open its existing Supercharger network to third-party EVs. Mercedes, GM and BMW already decided to integrate NACS charge ports in their electric cars from 2025. For Hyundai-Kia, however, despite being founding members of the alliance, such a move does not make sense yet – the Superchargers are rated at 400 volts. Thus Hyundai Motor Group’s 800-volt models will not be able to take advantage of their fast charging capabilities. In Europe, Hyundai-Kia has been involved in the Ionity HPC joint venture since 2020.


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