중앙데일리

Gov’t moves up electric car deadline

Oct 09,2009
President Lee Myung-bak sits behind the wheel of a Hyundai electric car yesterday after attending a special meeting where the government announced a new timeline for electric vehicle development. Lee was at the Hyundai-Kia technology center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. By Cho Mun-gyu
To speed up Korea’s fight against global environmental problems, the government has moved up the date to mass produce electric vehicles, officials announced yesterday.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy released an outline that would bring mass-produced electric vehicles onto the local market in the second half of 2011. Previously, commercialization of Korean-made electric vehicles was scheduled for 2013. The government’s hope is that by moving up the date it can become the world’s fourth largest electric vehicle manufacturer.

The Knowledge Economy Ministry aims at garnering 10 percent of the global electric vehicle market by 2015. The outline was presented during an economic meeting chaired by President Lee Myung-bak.

The government measure was released at a time when the global automotive industry has been moving quickly to develop pure electric vehicles. In July, Mitsubishi introduced the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle, the i-MiEV. Additionally General Motors and China’s BYD Auto are planning to launch their own mass-produced electric cars next year.

Korea has been aggressively pursuing green development, which it hopes will become a new growth engine in a country heavily dependent on energy imports.

Also, carbon emissions have been a growing issue in the country. Emissions from automobiles account for 20 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emitted by the energy sector.

The ministry said 500 billion won ($429 million) could be saved a year in energy imports when 1 million electric vehicles are operating in the country. Additionally carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 3 million tons a year.

Although details have not been made public, the government said it will create an environment that will speed up the mass production of electric vehicles, including financial support for research and development.

The support will be mostly focused on battery development.

The government’s plan is to provide support once the technology road map to a battery more advanced than the lithium-ion battery is complete. The government last year gave support to the development of plug-in hybrid vehicle battery technology.

Additionally, the government plans to provide backup development for 30 strategic parts for electric vehicles by the end of this year.

“First we need to focus on technology development before expanding infrastructure that needs a large investment,” said Cho Seok, the deputy knowledge economy minister of new growth.


By Lee Ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]



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