South Korean Government and private businesses such as Hyundai Motor Company are forming a SPC(Segregated Portfolio Company) for establishment and operation of hydrogen charging stations in first half of next year.
Hyundai Motor Company is going to release fuel-cell buses by end of this year and is planning to put out models that are more improved and ground-breaking than current Tucson fuel-cell vehicle in price and performance in early 2018. Goal of South Korean Government and private businesses is to supply 10,000 electric vehicles and establish 100 charging stations b 2020. Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced such plan at ‘Hydrogen Convergence Alliance Opening Ceremony’ that was held at Plaza Hotel on the 24th.
Automotive manufacturers, components manufacturers, charging station installers, and gas companies attended this event. These businesses signed off on written agreements with South Korean Governments (MOTIE, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and Ministry of Environment) to establish ‘Hydrogen Convergence Alliance’ which is for increase in fuel-cell vehicles.
According to this agreement, they are going to establish a task force and hydrogen convergence alliance bureau (corporate) in September and November respectively and have decided to establish a special-purpose corporate for constructing and operating hydrogen charging stations by first half of next year. Fund that is necessary is going to be invested based on businesses that are participating in this alliance.
While fuel-cell energy is seen as promising energy for the future and fuel-cell vehicles have emerged as complete eco-friendly vehicles, they were not vitalized due to expensive price and lack of infrastructures.
American and Japanese Governments already formed consultative groups with local governments and businesses since 3 years ago and are actively working on expanding number of fuel-cell vehicles. Number of fuel-cell vehicles is increasing rapidly in Japan especially as Japanese Government and automotive manufacturers are making investments and paying large amount of subsidies on expanding charging stations. It is at a point where one has to wait 2 years for Toyota’s Mira if he or she orders it right now.
While South Korea was the first country in the world to mass-produce fuel-cell vehicles, it has fallen back from the U.S. and Japan in increasing number of fuel-cell vehicles. As problem regarding air pollution has become serious, South Korean Government and businesses are making fast approaches to increase number of fuel-cell vehicles.
Through Trade Investment Promotion Discussion that was held on the 7th of July, South Korean Government prepared ‘Development Strategies for Electric Vehicles and Fuel-Cell Vehicles’ with a goal of supplying 10,000 fuel-cell vehicles, exporting 14,000 fuel-cell vehicles, and establishing 100 charging stations by 2020.
While actively supporting development of major technologies for fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen charging stations, South Korean Government is also going to grant incentive on purchase of fuel-cell vehicles (exemption on special consumption tax and acquisition tax) and incentive on driving of electric vehicles (discount on fees for toll roads, discount of more than 50% on parking fee, and introduction of personal license plate) and actively support on easing regulations to increase number of charging infrastructures.
Local governments such as Ulsan, Gwangju, and Chungnam also appointed hydrogen-related industries as regulation-free zone local strategy industries.
South Korean Government, local governments, and industries are going to launch car-sharing demonstration that utilizes electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles in Gwangju during second half of this year and operate demonstration of fuel-cell taxies in Ulsan. They are going to verify and expand models that utilize fuel-cell vehicles through these demonstrations and planning to increase number of opportunities for South Korean citizens to experience fuel-cell vehicles.
Hyundai Motor Company is going to release fuel-cell buses by end of this year and is planning to release new fuel-cell electric vehicle in early 2018.
“Condition of supplying hydrogen is satisfactory in South Korea based on petrochemical complex and South Korea is advantageous in supplying fuel-cell vehicles since number of population is high.” said Minister Ju Hyeong-hwan of MOTIE. “Based on Hydrogen Convergence Alliance, we need to make and expand successful incidences through demonstrations and tasks that develop fuel-cell industries so that we can maintain our superiority in fuel-cell electric vehicle field.”
“Although cooperation regarding expansion of fuel-cell vehicles is falling behind of Japan, South Korea has world’s best technical skills in fuel-cell vehicles.” said Vice-Chairman Kwon Mun-shik of Hyundai Motor Company. “If we work together, we won’t fall behind.”
Staff Reporter Mun, Bokyeong | [email protected]