Hyundai has marked the one-year anniversary of its first long-term electric vehicle test programme which is based on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in the United States.

The Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project (HEVDP) began in 2001 as a partnership between Hyundai, the State of Hawaii, City of Honolulu, the US Air Force and Torrance, California-based Enova Systems, which provides the electric drive system to power the vehicles.

Participation in the HEVDP is part of Hyundai's ongoing research to develop alternative energy vehicles that are environmentally friendly and commercially viable.

Fifteen electric-powered Hyundai Santa Fe SUV prototypes were distributed to the city and county of Honolulu, the Hawaiian Electric Company, Hickam Air Force Base and the State, to be used in fleet applications.

During the first year of operation, the vehicles covered a combined 75,000 miles in hot weather conditions and proved to be reliable and highly efficient, with recorded range between 70 and 90 miles.

"Hyundai is pleased with the success of the Hawaii EV demonstration programme during its first year of operation and wishes to thank its partners for their cooperation and enthusiasm in this project," said Dr. Moon Sik Kwon, executive vice president of research and development, Hyundai Motor Company. "We look forward to another year of demonstrating Hyundai's technology and commitment to developing environmentally friendly vehicles."

The Hawaii Electric Vehicle Demonstration Project is scheduled to continue in 2003. Building on the success of the first year, Hyundai and its partners are researching rapid charging technology in the second year of the programme.