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South Korean government aims to have 6,400 fuel-cell passenger cars on country's roads by end-2019

10 May 2019 Jamal Amir

The South Korean government aims to have 6,400 fuel-cell passenger cars on the country's roads by the end of 2019, up from 890 units in the last year, reports the Yonhap News Agency, citing South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. On top of these fuel-cell passenger cars, the government plans to supply 10 hydrogen-powered taxis starting from August and 35 hydrogen buses from June, highlights the report. The government also plans to increase the number of charging stations for fuel-cell vehicles in the country to 86 by the end of this year and further to 310 by 2022, up from 21 currently. To achieve its target, it plans to come up with measures to establish hydrogen charging infrastructure across the nation by August.

Significance: This latest development shows the South Korean government's commitment to developing a hydrogen economy. In January, the government revealed a roadmap to increase the adoption of fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in the country. It aims to produce 6.2 million FCEVs and build 1,200 hydrogen refilling stations across the country by 2040. It also aims to have 80,000 FCEVs on the country's roads by 2022, up from a previous target of 65,000 by that year. By 2030, it aims to have 1.8 million FCEVs on the roads. In a bid to achieve its targets, the government will provide subsidies for fuel-cell electric taxis and trucks and will work with local governments to increase the number of fuel-cell electric buses to 2,000 by 2022. Hydrogen buses will be available in seven major cities - Asan, Busan, Changwon, Gwangju, Seosan, Seoul, and Ulsan - in 2019, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport. The government also plans to start replacing all 820 police buses in the country with fuel-cell electric buses in 2021. The subsidies are expected to drive up production capacity and lower costs to around KRW30 million (USD26,674) by 2025, half the price of an FCEV in today's market. Furthermore, the government also aims to gradually replace most buses, trucks, and construction equipment that use conventional combustion engines with hydrogen-powered models by 2035. The roadmap is in line with the government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generate new growth momentum for its automotive industry, and reduce its heavy reliance on imported oil. South Korea relies on oil imports from the Middle East for most of its energy needs. Hydrogen fuel has the strong potential to revive sluggish manufacturing businesses, including small and medium-sized companies, which in turn will create new jobs. The government aims to bring in fresh investment and create jobs in traditional industries such as steel production, petrochemicals, and mechanical engineering through the roadmap.


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