What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Busan? It’s probably the ‘City of the Sea’. Even the name Busan reminds people of a cool beach. However, Busan, where we drove the Kia EV9, boasted a bigger and more diverse charm. The contrasts of old and new, tradition and innovation were in exquisite harmony. And Busan, such a dynamic city, is now preparing to host the 2030 World Expo.
Busan is far yet close; There is a network of highways, KTX, and planes that can easily get you to Busan from anywhere in Korea. This time, we started our journey from Seoul to Busan in the Kia EV9. It was raining and cloudy in Seoul on the day we left for Busan, so we wanted to quickly head south to get out of the rain. When passing through the Seoul toll gate, the EV9’s battery level was 75% and the remaining mileage was 396 km.
Sometimes fast and sometimes slow, after a long drive, we arrived at the E-pit super-fast charging station at Chilgok Service Area. We planned to charge at the last E-pit on the highway from Seoul to Busan. The remaining battery at this time was about 17%, and the mileage was about 69 km. Since starting off with a 75% battery, we’ve driven more than 230km on the highway with the air conditioning on; This was well above the official fuel efficiency (21-inch wheel 4WD EV9 standards). For reference, it took about 22 minutes to charge the battery to 80%.
After charging, we made full use of Highway Driving Assist System 2 (HDA 2) and drove to Busan. Clearly the car was smarter than the excited driver; After charging, the fuel consumption did not easily drop below 4km/kWh. It took more than 4.5 hours from Seoul to Busan, but the road with the EV9 was comfortable. With smart Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and the E-pit, a super-fast charging station for electric vehicles that refills the battery quickly, even the long-distance travel was easy for us.
After arriving in Busan, we first went to Songjeong. Songjeong Beach, like Haeundae and Gwangalli, is considered one of Busan’s iconic beaches. It is also known that Busan residents prefer Songjeong instead of Haeundae or Gwangalli, which are crowded with tourists. In addition, Songjeong is considered a good spot for a night drive on a cool night. It was daytime when we went to Songjeong, and since it wasn’t the holiday season yet, we were able to park the car in a secluded place and enjoy a break while looking at the sea.
One of the charms of traveling to Busan by car is the drive along the sea. Every day we’ve seen nothing but groves beside dense urban buildings; Then as we drove looking at the wide and cool ocean, it was very refreshing. In particular, we were proud to be able to minimize the impact on the beautiful sea with the EV9, which does not emit exhaust gas. We drove slowly in the EV9 and opened the windows to enjoy the smell of the sea. The air was much cleaner than usual.
Busan’s sea is also the place where Korea meets the world. As the center of trade and light industry, Busan is a city that has made a significant contribution to Korea’s economic growth. Before industrialization, Busan was the center of export of agricultural and fishery products, but after industrialization, it became the base of light industry that is advantageous for export. And along with the revival of the heavy industry, Busan is seeking a new role and growing as a financial hub in Northeast Asia.
Next, we moved to Gamcheon Culture Village. Gamcheon Village, which boasts a unique beauty with many colorful houses gathered on the hillside, also contains painful traces of our history. This village was built on a hillside to make a place for refugees to stay during the Korean War. As time passed, many people naturally left this place, and later, as murals and sculptures were created, it became a popular spot for foreign tourists.
Climbing the narrow hills of Gamcheon Culture Village with the EV9 was both difficult and easy. Its large body made navigating narrow alleys difficult, but its surround view feature illuminated both sides of the road to ensure safety. And the EV9 could climb steep hills comfortably; Internal combustion engines may have had to climb carefully while controlling engine revs. And this was when we found that EVs are easier to drive.
Next was Mt. Hwangnyeong; The 427m-tall Hwangryeongsan Mountain is in the center of Busan, and it boasts panoramic views of the city and the sea. Since it is located in the city center, there were many people who came to exercise. We rode the EV9 along the two-lane road that led to the top of the mountain. As we got to the top, the outside felt cooler and cooler.
At the summit, we enjoyed a short break in the EV9’s spacious cabin. The EV9 offers a choice of four seat configurations: 7-seater standard seat, 6-seater standard seat, 6-seater relaxation seat, and 6-seater swivel seat. These contained various ideas about the use of space. The test car is a swivel seat model in which the second row seats can be rotated 90° and 180°. You can turn the 2nd row seats 90° to the outside of the vehicle to enjoy the scenery, or stretch out your feet and relax with the 2nd and 3rd row seats facing each other.
Next, we headed to Dongbaekseom Island to see the new side of Busan. We couldn’t get around this place by car, so we had to park the car and take a walk. You can see Marine City from here and Gwangandaegyo Bridge; Marine City boasts Korea’s best skyline with numerous skyscrapers, and is often featured in car commercials. Here, and Centum City, which encompasses the city’s IT companies and commercial districts, are known to have created a new landscape in Busan.
As we pass through the old-fashioned city, the high-rise buildings in the distance become a landscape that shows what Busan is like now. For a long time, Busan has embraced the lives of countless people along with the sea; And it now seemed like preparing for a new innovation by embracing the old and the new. If Busan hosts the 2030 World Expo, it will be the foundation for a great transformation. Busan, which was at the forefront of port opening, trade, war, and development, will make its name known to the world as a global maritime city.
So we went to the North Port Development Area as the last stop on our Busan trip. North Port is the origin of Busan and at the same time a place to welcome a new future. North Port, which was born in 1407 under the name of Busanpo, became Korea’s first modern trading port in 1876. Later, during the Korean War, it became the basis for winning the war; And in the era of industrialization, it was responsible for 70% of domestic import/export container traffic. However, the North Port is now handing over its role as a central port to the ‘Busan New Port’ and is preparing for a new change - for the 2030 World Expo.
To this end, Busan is in the process of remodeling the North Port in two stages. The first step is to build up to 8-lane roads in the North Port and then build facilities such as parks and opera houses. And once the bid for the 2030 World Expo is confirmed, the second phase of development will begin - a variety of educational spaces and memorial halls in an exhibition area spanning 277 football fields. It is to turn the old port into a new complex cultural space where water and land meet.
Many people say that the end of a trip is to promise to come again; And it was the same on our trip to Busan with the EV9. We promised to visit Busan again if it hosts the 2030 World Expo. Of course, there are many reasons to go to Busan besides EXPO 2030. Busan is a city that has various cultural events such as film festivals, motor shows, and game exhibitions. We hope to come back with the EV9 next time - and our family too. The EV9 will be the best partner for any trip - offering ample space for the family, relaxed ride comfort, and driving performance that reads the driver’s mind.
by Min-hee Ahn
Photography by Dae-il Choi
Filmed by Do-yeon Nam, Hee-don Jung, Yongsik Woo
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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