BMW charges into electric car market in Korea

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BMW charges into electric car market in Korea


Models pose beside BMW i3 and i8 concept cars at Beyond Museum in southern Seoul yesterday as they are shown in Korea for the first time. The i3 electric concept can travel 160 kilometers (100 miles) after it is fully charged. The i8 plug-in hybrid concept car can travel 35 kilometers with electricity and then runs on a twin-turbo engine. [NEWSIS]

BMW made a significant foray into the local electric car market yesterday by holding a showcase of its electric cars at a showroom in southern Seoul. The German automaker will also hold a seminar with officials from the Korean government and automakers to discuss where the industry is headed.

BMW showed off its electric concept car i3 and plug-in hybrid concept car i8 in Korea for the first time. The automaker not only elaborated on its technology but also said it hopes to set an example in the electric car industry.

Pending issues include building electric charging stations and other infrastructure in the country as well as tax breaks and subsidies for electric vehicles. Currently there are tax breaks for hybrid cars, but for electric cars, such a benefit exists only for vehicles supplied to the government.

Uwe Dreher, head of BMW i brand management, said the sportier and more luxurious i8 will be a niche product, while the smaller i3 will be a volume model. Both of them will be made in Leipzig, Germany. BMW plans to launch the two vehicles in Korea in 2014.

Both vehicles are equipped with batteries made by SD LiMotive, a joint venture between Germany-based Bosch and Samsung SDI.

By Limb Jae-un []
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