South Korea is a country with a lot on her mind as of late. The recent debacle with North Korea continues to have ramifications within the country’s political and military arenas and all the while they are still working towards developing a strong renewable energy policy. Currently, South Korea has a series of plans that would provide their nation with a wide variety of offshore wind power, solar energy, and even tidal energy. As they look to the roadways, however, they have some changes in mind that they hope could make a real difference for the automobile industry.
In a news release that happened earlier in September, South Korea outlined a great deal of their green transportation and renewable energy plans for the coming years. While a lot of their goals seemed fairly similar to other nation’s renewable energy plans, their transportation decision was worth notice. According to the plan, South Korea is going to manufacture at least one million electric cars and fuel cell vehicles by the year 2020. Of the one million manufactured electric vehicles, South Korea is hoping to export nearly 900,000 of those cars in hopes of raising the domestic market share to at least twenty one percent.
In order to achieve this lofty goal, South Korea is calling for automobile manufacturers to invest sizable sums of money in exchange for potential tax breaks that could come earlier than they were scheduled to be passed by the government. According to some reports, the Hyundai Motor Company, Kia Motors Corporation, and Renault Samsung Motors Company, as well as a few others, will be making a total investment of over two and a half billion dollars by 2011.
Of the many companies striving to help South Korea reach this green transportation goal, Korean automotive leaders Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have a great deal of models to contribute. The Kia Motors Corporation alone is expected to produce at least 2,000 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids before the end 2012 as their earliest contribution to the overall plan. Hyundai has plans to produce around five hundred of their latest BlueOn design by the end of 2012 as their own contribution. The BlueOn, which was officially unveiled by Hyundai in September, is a lithium ion battery powered plug-in electric car with a range of roughly eighty five miles. According to Hyundai, at the time of the BlueOn release, the BlueOn is South Korea’s first “full-speed battery electric vehicle”.
In the end, South Korea is hoping that by increasing the electric vehicle and fuel cell car production in the nation that their economy will benefit from it while also reducing their carbon footprint and moving the country towards a greener future. As the years tick by, it should be interesting to watch the companies as they continue to push out green models on track for the one million car mark.
Article by Richard Cooke, appearing courtesy Justmeans.