Gov’t to invest in futuristic cars

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Gov’t to invest in futuristic cars

The Korean government will spend 110 billion ($98 million) this year, and more than 500 billion won through 2020, to develop key technologies for self-driving cars, including sensors and auto parts, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Friday.

“Automobiles have been very close to the center of our lives for the past 130 years and have continued to develop and innovate since,” said Joo Hyung-hwan, Korea’s trade minister, during the opening ceremony of the Seoul Motor Show, the country’s biggest auto event, at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi, on Friday.

“The automobile industry is changing more rapidly as seen here with more than 20 percent of cars being eco-friendly vehicles,” he said. “The government will expand investment and incentives so that local companies can develop related technologies while having more people enjoy riding such vehicles.”

The minister noted that the number of electric vehicles sold in the country reached 10,000 last year and the government aims to raise it to 30,000 this year and 60,000 by next year. “We will have the number of electric vehicles account for 1 percent of new vehicles out in the market this year,” Joo said.

The government will expand the number of charging stations for electric vehicles across the country, Joo said, and give various incentives to owners of such vehicles through discounts on highway tolls.

The government will also help small auto parts suppliers adjust to the growing market for electric and self-driving cars. The minister said there are currently about 800 smart factories that automakers and auto parts suppliers share, and the government wants to expand that to near 2,400 by 2020.

This year marks the 11th year of the Seoul Motor Show, and Joo said the event has grown to become comparable to many major global auto exhibitions.


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

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