The South Korean capital Seoul is planning to successively ban the majority of diesel vehicles from the public sector and local transport fleets over the next five years. Both electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will replace diesel vehicles.
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Out of a total of 5,153 diesel vehicles currently being used in the public sector, 3,586 are to be gradually replaced by electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2025. Around 4,000 electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses are will be put into operation by 2025. “We hope the ‘No Diesel’ plan led by the Seoul Metropolitan Government will contribute to the creation of a proper ecosystem of consumption and production of environment-friendly cars,” said Hwang Bo-yeon, head of the city’s transportation policy. South Korea will utilise the hydrogen fuel cell tech and infrastructure that has received particular support from the South Korea government.
In early July, the city government prohibited the purchase of new diesel vehicles for its own fleet and announced plans to only purchase more environmentally friendly vehicles in the future. However, this is proving difficult in some segments, such as fire engines, ambulances and vehicles for city cleaning. Here, the administration has now said it wants to work with manufacturers to drive forward the development of such special vehicles.
This will mean the second major bus fleet replacement within a few years: by 2015, the administration had already replaced many diesel buses with natural gas-powered models. The city government is also pushing ahead with the fleet changeover in the taxi sector: this year Seoul is sponsoring up to 700 electric taxis. For the first time, models from foreign manufacturers are also eligible for support.
Seoul officials also plan to launch public awareness campaigns for the implementation of the plan. At the same time, the central government plans to consult with local authorities on how best to increase support for zero-emission vehicles along with incentives for the early scrapping of diesel vehicles. Just last month the South Korean government extended subsidies for electric cars.
Update 07 January 2021: Seoul has taken another small step on the road to an electrified fleet. Now, 27 diesel buses have been replaced by battery-electric vehicles. Although the number is small, the vehicles are used on a highly symbolic line: The “Seoul Green Circulation Bus” line connects famous attractions in the South Korean capital and is very popular with tourists and residents alike.
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