Hyundai Motor Company has launched the routine operation of its electric Santa Fe Program in Honolulu, Hawaii. The program is being jointly operated with the state government of Hawaii, and is part of a bigger program led by the US government to put electric vehicles to practical use. "This international partnership with Hyundai validates Hawaii`s position as an ideal test site for high technology, medical research and other viable industries," Governor Cayetano said. "Hawaii offers a controlled environment, temperate climate and valuable resources through our private and public sectors. Serving as a testing ground for a project that will have global implications and will in the long run, help protect our Island`s clean air, made our participation even more worthwhile." Planned to run for two years, the vehicle fleet will be used for normal business on the roads of Hawaii and is a great opportunity for Hyundai Motor Company to enhance its vehicle development technology in operational use. Santa Fe fleet A fleet of 15 electrically-powered Santa Fe`s will be used by the State Government, the local electric company, the US Air Force and Honolulu City authorities. This will allow technical evaluation in real-life circumstances helping Hyundai Motor Company to strengthen its environment-friendly vehicle development. Additionally Hyundai will gain valuable experience with its advanced electric technology enabling it to further develop such vehicles for practical use. "Hyundai Motor Company is developing electric and fuel cell vehicles with the foremost goal of advancing environment-friendly technology. Hyundai Motor is very proud to be participating in the electric vehicle program in Hawaii, following the participation in the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP)," Dr. Moonsik Kwon, senior vice president of Hyundai Motor Company said. "In 2002, the EVS-19 will be held in Korea, and Hyundai Motor will be working closely with the Korean government as well as with the Korea Society of Automotive Engineering (KSAE). Hyundai Motor believes that environment-friendly vehicle such as the electric vehicle is not just a passing trend, but it`s future and destiny." The electric Santa Fe`s are able to recharge quickly, and Hawaii`s state government has established eighteen recharging facilities around the island. This overcomes the problems facing most electric vehicles in daily use - short drive distance and long recharging time. It will also help focus on how far the limits of electric vehicles can be pushed. Hyundai Motor Company has invested more than US$30 million since embarking on the development of electric vehicles in the early 1990`s. Fuel cell partnership A successfully developed fuel cell electric Santa Fe recently joined the Californian Fuel Cell Partnership. As Hyundai is looking to strengthen its US market presence, the Hawaii program will provide an excellent test-bed as part of Hyundai`s on-going zero pollution vehicle development strategy in order to meet the US` emission regulations. In addition, by examining the possibility of gaining environment-friendly credit in the US after finishing the Hawaii test, Hyundai Motor Company can prepare for forthcoming US ZEV regulation. This will be Hyundai`s first environment-friendly model ready to be mass produced that meets all current and proposed emission regulations.