South Korea plans to put over one million alternative-energy vehicles on its roads by the end of the decade.
On Tuesday, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MTIE) announced plans that would increase the number of traditional gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in electric hybrids (PHEV), pure electric vehicles (EV), and hydrogen fuel cell cars to 20 percent of all sales by the year 2020.
“The goal is to create a full-fledged market for eco-friendly cars by 2020,” the Ministry said.
Emphasized in the plan was the goal of reducing of greenhouse gas emissions, from an estimated 200,000 ton cut in 2015 to a projected 3.8-million ton reduction by the year 2020.
According to the MTIE, South Korea will invest approximately 150 billion won ($127.5 million) into research and development of globally competitive eco-friendly cars.
“R&D emphasis will be placed on battery performance, electric drive systems and better climate control for vehicle occupants,” it said.
Hyundai Motor Corp. and sister company Kia Motors have made recent efforts to increase their presence in the green-car market. Hyundai released details of its upcoming Ioniq, scheduled to debut in the country next month. The all-new nameplate would be the first vehicle from any manufacturer to offer three electrified powertrain options in a single body type. Meanwhile, Kia launched its all-electric Soul EV in the U.S. in 2014, while Hyundai also made its Tuscon Fuel Cell vehicle available in select US markets last year. Combined, Hyundai and Kia’s eco-friendly offerings will expand to 22 models by 2020.
Relative to other major markets such as the U.S., electric vehicle adoption in South Korea has been slow. Approximately 80,000 alternative-energy vehicles have been sold in 2015 thus far. The government has set a goal of moving at least 920,000 units domestically by 2020, with an additional 600,000 alt-fuel vehicles being exported in the next five years.
The South Korean government also plans to bolster the country’s existing alternative-energy refueling infrastructure. Over 1,400 EV charging stations will be built, along with 80 hydrogen refueling stations in the coming years.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has publically stated a proposal for Jeju Island (island off the southern coast of Korea) to be turned into an electric car-only zone by 2030.
To increase demand, the government will extend state subsidies for alternative-fuel vehicles, ranging from 27.5 million won ($23,000) for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, 12 million won ($10,000) for EVs, and up to 1 million won ($845) for hybrids.