In electric cars, Korea is still lagging, report says

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In electric cars, Korea is still lagging, report says

While Korea’s electric vehicle market has grown significantly in the past few years, it still falls behind the global industry average, a consulting firm said Wednesday.

AlixPartners, a New York-based firm with offices in Korea, ranked the country 22nd among 61 EV markets in the second quarter of this year. The company’s index measures the share of electric cars among a country’s total fleet. It takes into account how far an electric vehicle can travel on a single charge, with 500 kilometers (311 miles) calculated as one whole car.

During the second quarter, 2,775 electric vehicles were sold in Korea, accounting for 0.23 percent of all cars sold. The figure is 20 times higher than from the first quarter of 2013, but still lags behind the global average as well as other major auto markets.

Across the world, the share of electric cars averaged 0.43 percent during the second quarter of this year. The share in China, the largest auto market in the world, was 0.70 percent. The figure in Europe was 0.46 percent, with small nations like Austria, Iceland, the Netherlands and Norway leading the pack.

Norway, which topped the overall list, had electric vehicles account for 11.86 percent of all cars sold in the second quarter.

“Countries that implement environmentally-friendly policies and regulations as well as [committing] investment [to electric cars] show higher electrification share,” Cho Ki-youn, executive director of AlixPartners in Korea, told reporters on Wednesday.

China ranked at the top in terms of total distance that its entire electric car fleet could travel.

“A considerable number of electric vehicles were sold in China, and this is because its government policy pushes consumers to purchase electric and eco-friendly cars,” Cho said. “The lower share of electric vehicles sold in the Korean market is due to the lack of necessary infrastructure and insufficient state promotion and policy to end-consumers.”

While the government’s goal is to have 200,000 electric cars on Korean roads by 2020, Cho said this will not likely happen unless the government continues to subsidize consumer purchases of electric cars.

“When the electric version of the Kona launches next year, the government budget to provide subsidies for approximately 20,000 electric cars will not be enough,” Cho said.

The Environment Ministry recently decided to lower the maximum subsidy per car to 12 million won ($10,600) next year, 2 million won less than the subsidy distributed this year.

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