Seeing ‘green’ streets in Seoul by 2020: Mayor

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Seeing ‘green’ streets in Seoul by 2020: Mayor

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, who is now in Los Angeles on an eight-day business trip to the United States and Mexico, said the Seoul Metropolitan Government will change office vehicles and public buses to environment-friendly electric vehicles by 2020, aiming to become one of the world’s top green-car cities by then.

Oh’s plans for a “green car smart Seoul” came just a day after he signed a memorandum of understanding with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for supplying Korean-made electric cars to the U.S. city.

In a press conference yesterday local time, Oh said a total of 120,000 buses and cars in Seoul will be switched to electric vehicles by the target year. “Half of the public transportation vehicles, 10 percent of sedans and 1 percent of trucks and large vehicles in Seoul will be replaced with electric cars,” Oh said, adding that 110,000 charging stations will also be available in Seoul by the same year. To make that happen, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will establish 130 charging stations and provide over 100 electric cars - 10 of them electric buses - within the year.

Seoul believes taking the initiative in the emerging electric vehicle market is crucial because it foresees the sector as a new growth engine for the entire economy. In April, for the first time in Korea, Seoul opened up part of its roads to electric vehicles with a speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour).

Critics, though, have said there is an urgent need to establish even more charging stations and other facilities to make electric cars more popular. Oh says his plan is a solid one. “Seoul is a very densely populated megacity, and it has an advantage in adopting green cars,” Oh said. “Considering Seoul is also densely populated with cars, I believe establishing an infrastructure to embrace electric cars will elevate health, convenience and the efficiency of Seoul residents.

“I want to make Seoul a city where the world’s green cars are eager to compete. To accomplish this grand vision, Seoul must get cooperation from the central government,” Oh added.

Seoul next year will set up an advisory committee consisting of experts in automobiles, information technology and electric cars to provide advice on how to efficiently implement the goal.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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