Gov’t mulls trading CNG buses for new hydrogens

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Gov’t mulls trading CNG buses for new hydrogens

The government is considering replacing 26,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses with zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses at the request of Hyundai Motor, it announced Wednesday.

Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said the government will review current rules regarding the operation of clean buses and discuss lifting regulatory hurdles to boost growth of the hydrogen fuel vehicle market with related government branches.

“Hydrogen fuel cars not only solve problems related to energy and environment, but the new market can also create many new jobs and help the local economy,” Yoo said at a meeting held at the Gwangju Institute of Green-Car Advancement on Wednesday.

Hyundai Motor President Chung Jin-haeng asked the minister to consider measures to improve the local hydrogen bus infrastructure.

“Hyundai Motor has developed the technology to mass-produce hydrogen fuel cars for the first time in the world, but that the company and its contractors are struggling due to lack of charging facilities and high operating costs,” Chung said.

Hyundai Motor is planning to make hydrogen cell buses that can be used during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics by this year and asked the government to help boost this new market by replacing some of the public transportation vehicles that are currently operating to hydrogen fuel ones, he added.

“The government will consider ways to allow building hydrogen gas filling facilities at currently operating CNG charging stations around the nation,” Yoo said.

The minister also pledged to expand the government’s financial support in order to raise the percentage of locally produced parts going into hydrogen cars to exceed 80 percent by 2020, from the current 40 to 60 percent.


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

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