EV Sales Surging In South Korea, Partly Due To Subsidies

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Electric vehicle sales are surging in South Korea, largely thanks to a number of relatively new subsidies, according to the most recent figures.

The growth is notable because EV sales within the economic powerhouse of a country had previously been somewhat tepid, not non-existent but not strong either. But, now, with the recent surge, South Korea is joining the fast growing number of countries where EVs are now somewhat mainstream.

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With the (apparent) cracking of the market there’s the possibility of EV adoption speeding up in the region as a whole — perhaps spurring further competition with prominent neighbors, such as Japan and China?

With regard to subsidies, GreenCarReports provides more:

Trade journal Ward’s Auto notes that the country’s national Ministry of Transport provides a subsidy of 15 million won ($13,900) for purchase of a battery-electric car, and 10 provinces or cities offer further incentives that range from 3 million to 8 million won ($2,800 to $7,400).

Jeju, a beautiful semi-tropical island, offers the maximum 8-million-won local subsidy–for up to 500 vehicles a year–and intends to convert to entirely emission-free transport by 2030. The small island currently has about 300,000 vehicles, and offers a perfect driving environment for electric cars, with travel distances capped by its finite network of roads. It has already installed more than 500 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations, with more on the way.


Something else to note about the South Korean market is the fact that consumers there buy almost exclusively cars made in the country. Part of the increase no doubt has to do with the growing levels of EV manufacturing taking place in the country.

On that note:

The low-volume Kia Ray battery-electric minicar has been offered to government agencies for several years, and the Kia Soul EV — unveiled in February at the Chicago Auto Show–will go on sale in its home market shortly.

In fact, even the former Renault Fluence ZE sedan that was created for the now-defunct Better Place program in Israel has found a new life (with a fixed battery pack that cannot be swapped) as the locally-built Samsung SM3.

Kia said it expects to sell 900 Soul EVs in Korea next year, and about 5,000 globally.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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