Korea will seek to acquire technology for indigenously manufacturing electric car line systems used to provide power to its bullet trains, the government said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said work to develop special metal components and nuts that can permit 25,000 volts of electricity to flow constantly from overhanging wires to a fast moving train should be developed by year‘s end.
Korea first started commercial services of its bullet train called the Korea Train Express (KTX) in 2004 with key components imported from abroad. The first KTX trains were modified models of France’s TGV.
“A local company is to be picked to carry out development and production, with prototypes to be made within the year,” a ministry official said.
He said the new components will be tested and given certifications by October 2012 and be incorporated into the construction of future high-speed rail lines in the following year, with actual operational use expected to begin around 2014.
The components will be used on the Jeolla line that connects the capital city with the southwestern part of the country and a high-speed train system to be built around Seoul.
“Once the special components are developed, Korea will be 100 percent independent in the electric car line system field,” the official said.
The ministry, meanwhile, said the ability to develop the electric car line without outside help can also allow the country to better compete in the international market.
Korea‘s KTX is being marketed in Brazil and in the United States as an efficient form of transportation.