Electric cars are our futurePark Jae-yong
*Director of the Korea Automotive Future Research Institute
An analysis on the environmental friendliness of electric vehicles in the entire course from material to operation at home and abroad, including Korea, the United States and Japan, shows that replacing one internal combustion vehicle with an electric vehicle can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51 percent, and when an electric car is charged with renewable energy, pollutants can be reduced by as much as 98 percent.
The Ministry of Environment has supported electric vehicles, and the number of electric cars has grown by more than 1,100 percent in four years, from 1,075 in 2014 to 13,826 in 2017. This year, advance purchase agreements for 22,000 cars have been made, and by the end of the year, assistance will be reinforced to accommodate the demands for more than 30,000 electric cars.
However, there still is a long way ahead. Limited purchase subsidies and various tax exemptions won’t guarantee expanded distribution of electric cars. There are 25,000 electric cars in Korea currently, with one charging station per seven cars. The establishment of electric car infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up with the rate of electric car distribution.
With the belief that distribution of electric vehicles is not an option but a requirement to improve air quality, more attention should be paid to the electric car industry in 2018. Some say that it is more urgent to phase out the old diesel cars, which are the main culprit of air pollution. However, distribution of electric cars should not be delayed. Various entities need to exchange opinions and share directions to seek more effective solutions.