Officials move to spark EV sales

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Officials move to spark EV sales

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The government is encouraging more drivers to purchase electric vehicles by introducing financial incentives to buyers and increasing the number of charging stations in the nation next year.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it will knock 50 percent off electricity bills for charging vehicles and exempt EV owners from paying basic operating fees for three years starting next month.

“We expect the discounts on electricity charging fees will have more Koreans own electric vehicles and help local automakers develop technologies to have it become a new growth engine for the nation’s exports,” said Shin Yong-min, a director at the Trade Ministry.

Electric-vehicle owners who drive 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) a year will pay 135,000 won ($115) instead of the current 400,000 won in operating fees.

“The owners of gasoline-run vehicles would have to pay 2 million won a year for gas but electric vehicle owners can enjoy driving the same distance with only paying some 100,000 won from the discount that the government will offer from now on,” Shin said.

The Ministry of Environment also plans to increase the number of high-speed electric vehicle charging stations by 530 next year. This is 60 percent more than the government built this year. The Environment Ministry said it can install more of them since the budget for expanding the electric-vehicle market has increased nearly 80 percent to 264.3 billion won next year.

Spotting electric vehicles like Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq on the roads has become more common. Today, there are more than 80,000 electric vehicles registered in Korea.

“The infrastructure for the electric vehicles will be improved significantly and we expect it to reach what it is in other major developed countries,” said Lee Hyung-seop, a director at the Environment Ministry. “We expect there will also be more electric vehicles driving in the country next year as there will be new kinds of vehicles that will be able to run for longer distances released next year and the possible exemption for such drivers from paying highway toll charges.”

There are currently 4,622 newly registered electric vehicles in the nation this year, a 64 percent increase compared to the end of last year when there were 2,821 new registrations. The government said there are 2,420 more units that have been ordered but not yet delivered.

“The goal for the next year is to have another 14,000 electric vehicles to be sold in the nation next year and we think this is possible considering the next year’s budget,” said Lee at the Environment Ministry.

The government currently offers various financial benefits to electric-vehicle buyers. The central government gives 14 million won in subsidies per buyer and local governments give extra subsidies up to 5 million won, which allows buyers to save up to 19 million won.

The government also gives tax cuts up to 4 million won for buyers and this policy will last until the end of 2018.

Regional governments also have been getting involved in promoting electric vehicles by expanding the number of charging stations and financial benefits to residents.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]







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