A charging station for hydrogen-fueled vehicles in Naepo New City, South Chungcheong Province. [Photo provided by Chungnam Provincial Government]
The South Korean government will up subsidies for the purchase of hydrogen-powered vehicles and increase the number of charging stations to accelerate proliferation of environmentally-friendly cars on the roads, the government said on Friday.
In an economy-related ministers meeting presided by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon on Friday, the government presented its target to supply 15,000 hydrogen-fueled cars across the country by 2022, up from accumulated 177 units as of the end of last year, by providing state subsidies and increasing charging facilities. Consumers that purchase hydrogen-powered cars will receive 22.5 million won ($20,944) per unit in state subsidy and an additional 10 million won to 12.5 million won from local governments.
The government will also set up more charging stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles - at 160 major expressway and national highway rest areas across the country by 2022 and at 150 spots in major city areas.
The government will provide 50 percent of installation fees for charging stations in city areas managed by the environment ministry.
As part of efforts to boost supply of hydrogen-powered vehicles, the government also plans to establish a private special purpose company also joined by public institutions and gas suppliers that will be responsible for the installation and operations of charging stations. It will also create an organization exclusively in charge of purchasing hydrogen cells in bulk and transporting them for use with hopes to stabilize hydrogen prices.
Hyundai Motor Group`s NEXO
The Korean government plans to deploy 1,000 hydrogen-powered buses by 2022. It will launch a pilot project of managing 20 hydrogen buses in five cities next year before mass production. The hydrogen buses will replace old compressed natural gas city buses and diesel buses.
The government aims to lower the price of hydrogen-powered vehicles by about 30 percent from the current 70 million won per unit to 50 million won by localizing components. It also seeks to boost performance by increasing total driving range from 200,000 kilometers to 300,000 kilometers. It plans to up annual production capacity from 1,000 units to 10,000 units.
An unnamed government official said that expanding supply of pollution-free hydrogen-powered vehicles will not only allow major cities to reduce fine dust and greenhouse gas emissions to help control global warming but also provide new growth for the local automotive industry.
By Cho Si-young and Lee Eun-joo
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