Share an EV, for a nominal charge

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Share an EV, for a nominal charge

Tired of taxis and rental cars? Seoul City Government said yesterday that electric vehicle (EV) sharing will officially begin with 184 cars available at 57 locations.

According to the city government, four service operators - LG CNS, Korail Network, Korea Car Sharing and KT Kumho Rent-a-Car - will start operations today. Among them, LG CNS, which will manage the service with its affiliate EverOn, will be the largest operator with 120 vehicles.

The car sharing service started in Seoul in February under the name Nanum, with 485 cars in 292 locations, but didn’t include EVs. The EV sharing service was tested last month.

The price differs with each company, but the city government said on-average it will cost 3,000 won ($2.70) for 30 minutes. To use the service, drivers need to be 21 years old and licensed for a year. They must also register a credit card on the official Web site or service operators’ Web sites and obtain a membership card.

“Compared to regular car-sharing services, the basic fare is about 10 percent less expensive, and there is no fuel cost,” the city government said in a release. “However, customers need to be careful because the driving distance after a full charge is only 90 kilometers [56 miles], and there are not enough charging facilities outside Seoul.”

The EV used will be Kia’s Ray EV, which sells for 45 million won, but the Ministry of Environment and city government contributed 15 million won each per car, leaving operators with a cost of 15 million won. Charging facilities at 8.8 million won each were supplied by the city government.

“We installed 28 high-speed chargers in public parking lots and are planning to bring in other EV models to expand the service,” said a city government official.

While Renault Samsung Motors is set to release the SM3 Z.E., a compact size EV, later this year, industry insiders point out that there should be more charging stations and the return system should be fine-tuned. Under the current system, cars must be returned to their original location.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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