Hyundai Motor Company’s Porter II Electric is an eco-friendly electric truck optimized for urban transportation. It is clean because it does not emit air pollutants such as fine dust (PM 2.5) or nitrogen oxides (NOx) while driving, and is convenient since it can utilize existing EV charging infrastructure that is widely distributed across the country. Recently, with a growing interest in green commercial vehicles, the Potter II Electric is getting more popular. I hopped in one of them working as a mail truck in the neighborhood and examined the vehicle closely.
Porter II Electric at Charging Station
The delivery man starts his day earlier than others. Those who work in the logistics industry always do. I found one Porter II Electric parked at a refilling station in Yangjae-dong, Seoul, at 6 a.m. Like the other EVs at the station, this one was ready to roll.
The Porter II Electric is equipped with a lithium-ion polymer battery with a capacity of 58.8 kWh. It takes only about 54 minutes to charge up to 80 percent of the stack (when charged with a 100-kW charger), even when the battery is completely out. This means it would require just a brief moment of charging to finish its whole schedule. In addition, delivery trucks have relatively constant courses just like city buses. Driving within the expected range rarely leads to power shortages.
7:00 a.m. – Game on.
The Porter II Electric, which left the charging station, arrived at the local post office at 7 a.m. and began working. Around 200 parcels are delivered every day (based on Seocho Post Office in Seoul). The day of a delivery man begins with loading a number of boxes into the vehicles while sorting them depending on each destination. According to him, there was a concern when Porter II Electric first came along, because people worried if the truck might “lack space or capacity.” However, they were wrong. This is because the Porter II Electric provides us with the same size and capacity as the existing Porter II (Extra-long Super Cap) when it comes to cargo space.
Eco-friendly electric truck goes everywhere in town.
The Porter II Electric quietly glides in and unloads cargo boxes. Being green becomes a huge advantage when driving in small alleys since it won’t generate any noise or pollutants. Thanks to this, there will be no complaints about the noise even if the truck is right next to the house. The Porter II Electric is especially known for its quietness, unlike its large size. Even pedestrians around the vehicle wouldn’t notice the vehicle approaching them, so the Porter II Electric comes with a virtual engine sound system (VESS), which literally makes a virtual engine sound while driving to prevent any pedestrian-related accidents.
Performance Optimized for Urban Transportation
The Porter II Electric moved on to the next destination, going faster. It was fully loaded, but it did not look it at all. Smooth steering with powerful performance is one of the features of the Porter II Electric, which is optimized for urban transport. The motor mounted on the Porter II Electric offers the maximum power of 135 kW, which is about 183 horsepower when converted. Its output itself is high, but it’s also because the EV motor has got different traits. EVs can reach its maximum torque as soon as the car starts driving, hence enough power even with the fully occupied cargo space.
Porter II Electric offers a decent level of convenience in driving by applying features specialized for EVs. Lane Keeping Assist ensures that the vehicle remains in the center, and Electronic Parking Brake offers automatic vehicle hold. Paddle shifters allow drivers to use four levels of regenerative brake control. Also, the vehicle offers one-pedal driving, which does not require the driver to use the brake pedal. The Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), on the other hand, can control the vehicle in different climates.
Delivering the last parcel in the late evening
It was late afternoon. Finally, the last customer got his last parcel. The truck visited 60 houses, delivering about 200 packages, traveling for 60 kilometers. Usually, more than one parcel was delivered to each household. Even so, the environment – wandering around the neighborhoods and stopping by every minute – was not considered to be ideal for a mail truck. However, Porter II Electric has spent only 12 percent of its battery from 80% in the morning.
Despite driving with the air conditioner on all day in the hot summer day, the dashboard said it could run 167 kilometers more. The Porter II Electric is known to give an accurate remaining range estimate. This is mainly because the South Korean government has the world’s strictest regulations. For your information, the Porter II Electric has a single-charge range of 238 kilometers (211 kilometers for combination and 177 kilometers for highways), when driven in a city.
Porter II Electric is making our lives even more prosperous with clean and convenient electric-powered powertrain technology. As of July 2020, Korea Post Office is currently using 44 Porter II electric vehicles as their mail trucks and plans to operate more of them in the future. We hope that the eco-friendly Porter II Electric, optimized for urban transportation, will contribute more to the improvement of the logistics industry and the air quality.
Words. Lee In-joo
Photograph. Kim Yoon-sik
The Five Advantages of the Porter II Electric: hand-picked by a package delivery man
“My job has become so much easier since I got to use the Porter II Electric,” said Ahn Geun-soo, a 10-year veteran package delivery man at Seocho Post Office in Seoul. Ahn says that his work has become easier since he started driving the Porter II Electric three months ago. Let’s take a look at the five advantages of the Porter II Electric, which is hand-picked by the driver himself.
1. Less tired driving
A delivery man’s work is not easy at all. However, Porter II Electric significantly reduces his work fatigue. Unlike diesel trucks, electric trucks generate much less noise and vibration while driving, making the drivers feel much less tired in such long-distance travel. In this regard, Ahn added, “I travel around 50 to 70 households a day on average. But after switching to the Porter II electric, my work fatigue has been reduced significantly.”
2. Zero-emission creates a pristine environment
Diesel trucks generate heat and smoke around the car when the engine is running. And because of this reason, the drivers turn off the engine every time they stop by each household. This means the engines are switched on and off dozens of times a day. However, Ahn says that Porter II Electric has no such problem at all. “Now I don’t have to smell anything from the exhaust every time I unload parcels. And we drivers also feel safe when we park our trucks indoors such as underground parking lots. We feel that Porter II Electric protects our health. And there is more. The drivers often need to wait in the truck to meet the schedule. Then we had to turn off the engine because it is illegal to idle conventional diesel trucks. If you keep the engine on, it will cause pollution and noise. But on certain types of days, hot summer or cold winter, it becomes harder to stay in a truck with the engine off. Porter II Electric solved all the problems, however. They do not emit pollutants, you can stay in them comfortably with the air conditioner or heater on without worrying about emission or noise. The cabin is a much better place now. They definitely have changed my work environment.”
3. High cost-efficiency of electric trucks
The Porter II Electric is also pretty much cost-efficient. This is because it can significantly reduce spending on fuel and consumables compared to diesel trucks. “I travel about 60 kilometers a day. But this car can run for 3 days after a full charge, with the air conditioner running. It costs less than 10,000 KRW per charge. On the other hand, it costs about 70,000 KRW to fill up a diesel truck. In addition, you do not have to worry about the usual maintenance cost such as changing engine oil, when you drive Porter II Electric.”
4. Easy-to-use charging stations
Ahn also knows about the convenience of charging the Porter II Electric. “It feels getting easier every time I drive Porter II Electric. I go to the charging station only once every three days, when the battery is left about 20%. It takes about an hour to charge up to 80%. We delivery guys driving the Porter II Electric are happy with it”
5. Convenience features for city driving
The Porter II Electric is also optimized for delivery work, thanks to the convenience features that are specialized for city driving. Auto-hold mode keeps the car still even without pushing the brake pedal, and the Electric Parking Brakes are easily engaged by pressing a single button. Meanwhile, paddle shifters allow drivers to use regenerative brake control at multiple levels. Also, the vehicle offers one-pedal driving, which does not require the driver to use the brake pedal. Ahn said he was particularly satisfied with this feature as well. “These convenience features make driving safer especially for the fully-loaded truck drivers. Delivery truck drivers like me often suffer from ‘Driver’s Foot’, which happens when you are forced to hold your foot in one position on the brake pedal for long periods. But thanks to the auto-hold, my ankle feels much better. And we had to use a hand brake dozens of times a day when we were driving conventional diesel trucks, but the Porter II Electric with Electric Parking Brake allows us to engage it with a single button. It’s a must-have feature for delivery trucks in the city.”