Korea aims for 200,000 electric cars by 2020

Korea aims for 200,000 electric cars by 2020
The Yamaha electric city car.

Korea aims to boost its use of electric vehicles to 200,000 units by 2020 as part of its bid to promote next-generation cars that are more affordable, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

The Environment Ministry on Friday unveiled a package of comprehensive measures to speed up the commercialization of electric cars, which includes a renewal of tax breaks, investment in new technologies, quotas for public agencies, plans to expand charging stations and other incentives for buyers.

It was released after a meeting of the national green growth committee presided over by Environment Minister Yoon Seong-kyu and Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick.

Under the plan, the government will strive to boost the number of battery-powered cars on the road from the current 800 to 3,000 in 2015 and 200,000 in 2020 and diversify the portfolio to taxis, buses and trucks.

To entice more drivers, the existing tax cut of up to 4.2 million won (S$5,000) will be extended by 2017, while 25 percent of new vehicles purchased by public institutions must now be electric. Currently 50 percent of their vehicles are required to be city, hybrid and other eco-friendly cars.

Given the lack of adequate infrastructure, the government aims to hike the number of high-speed public charging stations from the current 177 to 1,400 in 2020 across the country, focusing on rest areas on highways.

The ministries plan to launch a pilot programme on Jejudo Island next year on battery lease and commercial charging to help cultivate the market. In the province alone, they aim to roll out 119 electric buses and 1,000 taxis and rental cars by 2017.

They are also seeking to enhance the cars' efficiency by funneling 22.2 billion won over the next five years into developing five key technologies ― high-efficiency motors, battery temperature control, mould-free manufacturing, high-efficiency air conditioning and high-voltage full-length control.

"Despite the constant efforts to improve their performance, the currently available cars are capable of traveling only 25 percent (less than 150 kilometers without heating) of what gasoline-powered ones do on a single charge," the agencies said in a statement.

"The investment is aimed at increasing the range to 300 kilometers."

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