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Seoul, Korea Offering $18,000+ In Incentives To EV Buyers

2015-kia-soul-ev-02-1Those considering purchasing an EV may now want to consider moving to the capital of Korea, Seoul — owing to the city’s recent legislative moves designed to spur the growth of the EV market there.

The city is now offering up to 20 million won (around $18,225 at the current exchange rate) in incentives to EV buyers there. There’s a catch, though: the full incentives are available only to those that purchase from one of four partner car manufacturers.

Those four car manufacturers are: BMW, General Motors, Kia, and Renault-Samsung.

So, there are certainly some options there, so not too bad. (Unsurprisingly, EVs from Japanese auto manufacturers like Nissan aren’t eligible.)

With the new incentives factored in, the base price of a new high-end EV, like the BMW i3, can be lowered substantially — from about 57.5 million won ($52,423) to about 37.5 million ($34,200).

I guess I might need to retract my first sentence, though, at least for Americans. After the US federal tax credit for electric vehicles, the BMW i3 costs just $33,850.

EV charging stations incentives are also in place for corporate and other organizational buyers. There’s an additional 7 million won ($6,379) in incentives available for installers of charging stations in parking lots or garages.

The reported reason for the rather high incentives on offer is as a counter to the common public disinterest in EVs in Korea. Currently there are only about 1,500 registered EVs in South Korea, out of a total of 20 million registered vehicles.

If you’re wondering why that number is so low, though, the real reason isn’t simply public apathy but also restrictive laws that could more or less be referred to as being “anti-EV.” The most prominent of these laws is the one that “bars electric cars from local highways with speed limits over 60 kilometers per hour (about 37 mph) — including almost 208 miles of highway in and around Seoul.” What?!

You’d hope rather than simply offering incentives that that law would be struck off the books…. But it remains for now.

Image Credit: Kia

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Written By

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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