Seoul, South Korea, is taking a half-step toward vehicle electrification with a new plan to phase out diesel vehicles from its public fleets by 2025, including mass transit fleets.
Some will see this as a strong, aggressive move, while others will consider it a half-step, at best. Why not all fossil fuel vehicles? Why not drop dirty diesels quicker? Some other places have. Why not set a deadline for diesel vehicle sales in general?
Despite the fact that some will look at the policy and wish for much more, this new plan is a headline because Seoul will be one of the largest cities in the world to implement such a ban.
Seoul’s plan could empower other global cities to follow suit and implement their own diesel or fossil fuel vehicle bans, or their own 100% electrification plans.
Also, phasing out diesel is no small matter for the city government in charge of approximately 10 million people. (I was tempted to write “10 million souls,” but I caught my urge for a pun, especially since the city is home to more than people.) In fact, approximately 65% of the city government’s vehicles are diesel cars. Only 0.9% of the bus fleet runs on diesel, however.
Naturally, this is just a first step toward vehicle electrification in the municipal government’s fleet. Over time, they can ratchet up the commitments and hasten the phaseout of fossil fuel vehicles.
Unfortunately for science and basic economics, some South Korean leaders are still riding the hydrogen fantasy. “The metropolitan government unveiled a ‘No Diesel’ initiative this week aimed at eliminating the highly emitting automobiles from the roads and replacing them with electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles,” Yonhap News Agency writes regarding the news.
I pity the fool who decides to waste taxpayer money on hydrogen vehicles when they could surely get much more cost competitive battery-electric vehicles for the same purpose.
“Of a total of 5,153 diesel automobiles currently used in the public sector, 3,586 cars will be replaced with electric and hydrogen vehicles in stages by 2025, City Hall said.” Given that the plan is to fully phase out diesel vehicles by 2025, that still leaves 1,567 that might be changed to gasoline or some other less desirable fuel source.
Seoul, you can do better.