In the coming year, the South Korean government will provide the equivalent of around 900 million dollars in subsidies for e-mobility. The money will not only be used to subsidise electric and fuel cell cars, but also the associated infrastructure.
738.2 billion won (609 million dollars) has been set aside for subsidies for battery electric vehicles and the expansion of charging infrastructure in 2020. For fuel cell vehicles and the expansion of hydrogen filling stations, a further 359.3 billion won (296 million dollars) will be added. The goal is to increase the number of battery electric vehicles on South Korean roads by 71,000 next year and fuel cell vehicles by 10,000. In concrete terms, BEVs will be subsidised by the state government with 8 million won (approx. 6,600 US dollars) in the coming year, each new FCEV will even be subsidised with 22.5 million won (approx. 18,600 US dollars).
The significantly stronger support of the FCEV fits into the strategy of the South Korean government that sees hydrogen as a green and promising economic sector. In January this year, the government announced its intention to have 80,000 fuel cell cars on South Korean roads by 2022. The announced subsidies should also boost the hydrogen economy that the South Korean government is heavily investing in. The hydrogen economy does not only involve hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles, which are well suited to long-haul and heavy-load vehicles, but also for industrial power and heating energy.
In April this year, Korea Gas announced that by 2030 it intends to invest the equivalent of around 4 billion dollars in the construction of 25 hydrogen production plants and pipelines with a total length of 700 kilometres to transport the gas in South Korea. Just the previous month, in March the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy had formed a special purpose company called HyNet to lead the construction of hydrogen charging infrastructure.
Apart from Toyota, the Korean Hyundai group is the only car manufacturer that currently offers a fuel cell car; the Nexo. Last week, the company also announced a series of electric commercial vehicles – both with batteries and fuel cells.