S. Korea steps up EV push with govt, auto, battery industry going all out to lower cost

2021.02.19 12:18:57 | 2021.02.19 12:20:11

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]

South Korean government and automakers and battery supply chain are joining forces to lower the prices of EVs and accelerate phase-out from traditional fuel through leasing program on batteries that take up the bulk of an EV value and strengthen battery capabilities with R&D push.

The high-profile meeting was headed by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and industry minister Sung Yun-mo that brought together the chairs of automobile and battery majors including Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, Hyundai Motor President Kong Young-woon, Hyundai Glovis CEO Kim Jung-hoon, LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun and KST Mobility CEO Lee Haeng-yeol at Hyundai Motor Group’s research and development center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday.

The fourth outline on EV aims to bring down the price of green cars by more than 10 million won ($9,042.41) by 2025. The government will inject 113.9 billion won to provide support for development of EV-dedicated platforms and localization of battery and fuel cell materials. Battery leasing program will also be promoted for further cut in EV prices.

For technological innovations, research will be conducted to increase the mileage of an EV by 60 kilometers and fuel efficiency by 15 percent. Key parts of EVs will be upgraded for release of fully autonomous cars by 2024, and solid-state batteries will be commercially available by 2030 under the plan.

The Korean government expects the technological innovations will bring a 10 million won cut in EV prices. Adding to that, it has decided to seek for an extension of tax breaks on eco-friendly vehicles due to sunset by the end of this year.

“Green cars will become more popularized from this year and the government will support innovations based on supply and demand to help Korean companies cement their lead in the global market,” said Prime Minister Chung.

On the same day, the industry ministry, Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Glovis, LG Energy Solution and KST Mobility signed an agreement for cooperation in EV battery lease program. A test service for electric taxis and trucks will kick off this year, and the program will expand to hydrogen buses next year. Twenty Hyundai Kona EV cars will be used for the trial service from next month.

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Under the agreement, Hyundai Motor will supervise the entire project and sell Kona EV vehicles to taxi platform operator KST Mobility, which will sell the battery ownership of the vehicles to Hyundai Glovis. KST Mobility will then pay the monthly leasing fees to Hyundai Glovis, which will manage the battery leasing and sell used batteries to LG Energy Solution for analysis of safety and residual value.

Used batteries will then go to produce energy storage systems (ESSs) to be employed in rapid charging facilities for EVs of KST Mobility.

Drive and battery data collected from the EV taxi service will be shared to all project participants.

“This would be the first exemplary case of cooperation between the government and industry for expanded supply of EVs and reuse of batteries,” said an official from Hyundai Motor. “We hope the new innovative business model will help create an ecosystem for the green car industry.”

For the shared vision towards carbon-free society, the government vowed to expand EV charging facilities as well.

More than 500,000 units of charging facilities that can cover nearly half of all EVs will be set up by 2025 with rapid charging systems. As for hydrogen vehicles, 450 charging units will be established to allow drivers to have access to a charging station in 30 minutes from anywhere.

By Seo Jin-woo, Oh Chan-jong and Lee Ha-yeon

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