[THE INVESTOR] Hyundai and Kia Motors are supporting the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by providing some 4,100 units of vehicles and donations worth over 50 billion won (US$46.95 million) as an official tier-one sponsor.
On a promotional level, Hyundai Motor is presenting its ambitious hydrogen fuel cell Nexo sport utility vehicle and hydroelectric buses for test drives and transportation throughout the Olympic period.
“We hope the autonomous full cell electric car will help draw people’s attention to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and promote Korea’s competitiveness in future cars,” Hyundai Motor said.
Five units of Nexo will travel near Olympic venues on self-driving mode to provide first-hand experiences of their level four automation, the company said. They will run hands-free in selected areas with a Hyundai employee on the driver’s seat due to restrictions under the law.
Level four is one of five categories set by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on autonomous driving, with five being the highest level of automation that does not require a driver at all.
About 50 units of Nexo will also be available for test rides at key sites in PyeongChang and Gangneung, Gangwon Province, the company said.
Visitors can sign up for test drives at the Hyundai Pavilion in the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium. The 10-meter-high Hyundai Pavilion that spans 1,225 square meters is an experience center the company prepared to advertise hydrogen fuel cells.
Meanwhile, three units of Hyundai’s third-generation hydroelectric bus will run between Gangneung Station and the Olympic Park. The company is also pushing to operate a separate hydroelectric bus to transfer VIPs from Yangyang Airport to PyeongChang and Gangneung.
Hyundai has showcased its hydroelectric buses at other global events, including the 2010 G-20 summit in Seoul and the 2012 Yeosu Expo.
Taking an active role in winter sports, Hyundai Motor has been supporting the country’s bobsleigh team by developing upgraded bobsleighs and providing coaching staff since 2014, the company said.
In October 2016, Hyundai delivered a bobsleigh it made for Korean athletes on the national team. The blue sleigh was designed for optimal soft cornering by providing improved flexibility and minimizing air resistance to reduce final lap time, according to the company.
By Kim Bo-gyung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)