Under the name Blue Plug Chargers, Hyundai will start building its own supercharger through its subsidiary, Hyundai Kefico. In its home market, the company wants to get to terms with the more successful rollout of Tesla, which also manufactures high-power chargers.
In 2021, Hyundai announced the launch of its own supercharger network under the name E-Pit. But progress has been slow. While the carmaker aimed for 120 charging points by the end of the year of launch, only 36 are operational today. Over the same period, Tesla’s network has grown from 33 to 106 in South Korea.
Blue Plug Chargers
As Hyundai wants to step up on its rollout, the company now turns to building branded high-power chargers, just like Tesla. E-Pit sourced its equipment from local suppliers like Evsis and SK Signet. Still, according to the newspaper The Korea Economic Daily, Hyundai Kefico has filed with the government to certify the propriety-built Blue Plug Chargers. Kefico focuses on electronic automotive control systems and data services.
Hyundai’s in-house chargers come in two versions: a single pillar with one CCS cable and a double channel post with two plugs. The power output per dock is 350 kW, which complies with the stations E-Pit uses today. Hyundai aims to install them further down the year after receiving official approval.
Extra high building costs
The E-Pit hubs are canopied and marketed as premium charging experiences, using high-end chargers and forcing the suppliers to use expensive components. That’s one of the reasons behind the stalled progress. Penetration is hampered by extra high building costs and the hurdle of not finding enough suppliers.
On average, the current stations cost 150 million won (90 000 euros) for a single 350 kW charger. Hyundai wants the pillars to provide filling times of 10 to 80% under twenty minutes for its own vehicles using the 800-volt technology.
The E-Pit stations feature a design inspired by motorsports and an app enabling digital queuing. They should make their mark with special supportive handles for tilting the hefty cables and autonomous height adjustment. However, these add-ons seem missing on the pictures of the Blue Plug Chargers that Kefico released.
The expansion of the E-Pit network with the new Blue Plug Chargers concentrates on the local market to boost a backdrop in EV adoption. Over in Europe, the company stepped into the Ionity consortium with sister brand Kia in Europe. Despite these collaborations, more and more car manufacturers (Mercedes, Renault, Audi, Porsche…) are developing in-house networks to enhance the experience and customer service.