Hyundai has announced teaming up with retail giant Lotte Group and KB Asset Management to expand ultra-rapid charging infrastructure in Korea. Their business model includes leasing high power charging stations to private operators to add 5,000 ultra-fast chargers (UFC) by 2025.
This week, the three companies agreed to set up a special purpose company named UFC (Ultra Fast Charger) for now, to start recruiting private EV charging station operators and lease them superfast EV chargers for business within this year. THEREFORE, the SPC will not be the operator but will leave this to the actual CPOs.
Longer-term, Hyundai and its partners target adding 2,500 locations with two charging connectors per station to reach the 5,000 connections mentioned above by 2025. This will then become part of various roaming infrastructures.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Korea has around 100,000 charging units at present, with nearly 40 per cent situated in Seoul and neighbouring large cities. Only 13,000 units offer ultra-rapid charging.
Hyundai expects operators DC charging infrastructure to spread faster to large cities and operators to save on installation costs by leasing the chargers. The company also wants to provide customer services by connecting the EV charger rental business model with its EV charging service platform E-CSP.
The Group has reportedly started installing a proprietary network of high power charging stations last March when launching the 800-volt electric vehicles, Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5. Hyundai says its 350 kW charging stations can charge an EV battery equipped with an 800-volt system within 18 minutes to 80 per cent – about half the time it takes on current fast-charging stations.
In today’s statement, Hyundai also reported it is now operating so-called E-pit charging stations at twelve highway locations and six urban hubs.
The company wants to add “major downtown business sites,” such as their national sales and service centres and offices, to install high-speed electric vehicle chargers through the new SPC.
Lotte Group, too will provide its retail facilities such as department stores and shopping malls in major cities as locations to install the new EV chargers.
For the Group, it is a further array into e-mobility. Its subsidiary Lotte Rental joined South Korea’s largest car-sharing provider Socar in March and acquired startup 42dot, which is working on autonomous driving, in 2021. Subsidiary Lotte Data Communication acquired Joongang Control, the country’s second-largest manufacturer of charging systems for electric vehicles, in 2021.
KB Asset Management acts as a financial investor for those wanting to install the new UFCs.
Hyundai said it plans to start the new joint venture in earnest this year after reviewing the business model and specific operation plan with Lotte Group and KB Asset Management.
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