Yongin starts offering a subsidy for electric cars

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Yongin starts offering a subsidy for electric cars

In line with growing interest in electric vehicles, the city of Yongin, Gyeonggi, announced Tuesday that it will launch a subsidy plan for 2017.

According to the announcement, the city government has decided to provide a subsidy of 19 million won ($16,300) to owners of 20 electric cars in order of application, regardless of the model. While 14 million won comes from the central government budget, 5 million won is drawn from the city’s budget.

The city government said it will accept applications for the subsidy starting on Feb. 13. Residents older than 18 or businesses and corporations with addresses in Yongin are qualified to apply.

Yongin’s decision to subsidize eco-friendly vehicles comes after it established nine charging stations across the city for electric cars of different brands including Hyundai, Nissan, Renault, GM and BMW. It plans to expand the number of charging stations.

Regarding the limited number of vehicles to be subsidized, an official from the city government said it could increase the number depending on demand. “This electric vehicle subsidy plan is new for our city so we are still exploring the market,” said the official. “We may have to request the Ministry of Environment to provide subsidies to more people this year and we will definitely expand the number next year.”

The Ministry of Environment announced its own subsidy plan for this year on Jan. 23. The ministry said provincial government included in its plan will expand to 101, 70 more than in 2016 when only 31 provincial governments were included. The ministry will provide as much as 14 million won as government funding per vehicle.

Depending on funding by provincial governments, subsidies for electric vehicles could range from 14 million won to 26 million won. For instance, residents of Ulleungdo are eligible for as much as 26 million won in subsidies for their electric cars, while residents of Cheongju, North Chungcheong can receive as much as 24 million won.

Some remain skeptical of the practicality of electric vehicles.

“Considering the number of charging stations, I think I would feel nervous trying to get around an electric vehicle,” said Lee Jung-min, a 27-year-old office worker in Seoul who is considering buying a car soon. “I am afraid the car may die in the middle of a highway when I drive a long distance.”

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]
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