Consumer demand is heading towards low-pollution, high-efficiency, eco-friendly motor vehicles due to factors such as the burden of fuel costs and increased environmental awareness caused by recent climate change issues and high oil prices. Governments and industries around the world are making active investments and formulating support policies to dominate the eco-friendly motor vehicle market in advance.

Korea has also recognized the importance of developing and distributing eco-friendly motor vehicle technologies and is working towards increasing the distribution of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), and other eco-friendly motor vehicles that offer outstanding fuel efficiency and satisfy low pollution standards. This matter is covered by the “Green Car Development Strategies and Projects” announced by the Presidential Committee on Green Growth in December 2010. Electric vehicles with no pollutant emissions have been in distribution since 2011 and FCEVs have been in trial distribution since 2013.

Electric Vehicles

The groundwork was established to distribute electric vehicles by setting electric vehicle and charging facility support standards based on the results of an electric vehicle verification project in 2011 and expert advice. First, national agencies, local governments, and public institutions, upon purchasing an electric vehicle, are provided with a subsidy to partially cover the price difference compared to an equivalent standard vehicle, and assistance is being provided to build a charging infrastructure. In addition, 10 cities, including Seoul and Jeju, were selected as leading EV (electric vehicle) cities. A charging infrastructure network will be established around these cities, which will be nurtured as hubs for full-scale electric vehicle distribution.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles

FCEVs operate by obtaining electricity by reacting hydrogen and oxygen fuels in a fuel cell inside the vehicle, then using the electricity produced to power the motor. Their only exhaust gases are unreacted oxygen and nitrogen and water vapor, making them truly “pollution free” vehicles.

From 2006 to 2013, Korea invested a total of 69 billion won to carry out a FCEV development and verification project and established a mass production system for FCEVs. To verify the technology and create initial demand, the Ministry of Environment provided the public sector with five FCEVs and one charging station on a trial basis in 2013, and since then, a total of 33 FCEVs have been distributed, including commercial distribution.

Distribution of Natural Gas Vehicles

Previous diesel-powered intra-city buses were regarded as a main cause of air pollution in large cities due to large volumes of pollutant emissions and high operating frequency. Consequently, they were changed to natural gas buses that have no exhaust fumes and whose emissions of other air pollutants are at least 65% lower than previous diesel-powered buses.

Korea completed the development of natural gas buses from 1991 to 1997, and after a trial operation of a total of four intra-city buses in Incheon and other areas from July 1998, the absence of exhaust fumes and excellent passenger comfort were welcomed by the public. Natural gas buses were distributed in full scale from 2000 based on the results of the trial operation. By the end of 2013 the government had distributed 34,297 buses and 1,174 cleaning vehicles and installed 479 charging stations throughout urban areas of the country.

A mobile charging system was introduced in 2002 to distribute natural gas buses to regions where it is difficult to install natural gas charging stations or where urban gas pipes have not been installed. As of the end of December 2013, this system supplies fuel to about 226 buses.

Korea’s natural gas vehicle-related industries achieved significant growth, with exports increasing from $30 million dollars in 2006 to $200 million dollars in 2012. The Ministry of Environment is actively involved in organizing the Global-Korea NGV Policy and Technology Cooperation Forum and other government assistance projects to support and nurture overseas export industries in developing Asian countries.

Eco-friendly Motor Vehicle Mid-term Distribution Strategies and Road Map

The Mid-term Strategies and Road Map for Eco-friendly Motor Vehicle Distribution (2014-2020) was recently formulated. This road map aims to distribute 2.2 million eco-friendly vehicles (10% of registered motor vehicles) by 2020, and specifies the following three strategies.

First, distribution strategies will be customized for each vehicle type, including hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and CNG hybrid buses. Second, the market will be expanded by introducing a compulsory zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) distribution scheme and otherwise improving associated systems. Third, the consumer culture will be improved through early establishment of public infrastructure for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and promoting the practice of car sharing.

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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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