Germany and South Korea are ratcheting up cooperation on high-tech transportation issues, including energy and the environment, in efforts to get a jump on what officials described as the transportation infrastructure of the future.
“E-mobility” was the catch word that best sums up a visit here by representatives from Germany’s auto industry. An invention of auto industry consultancies, e-mobility refers to the rapidly increasing popularity of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, as well as smartly integrating new public transportation tech with local communities and the public policy implications.
Government and corporate representatives from the German state Baden-Wurttemberg, the hub for Germany’s high-tech auto industry, arrived in South Korea on Feb. 23 for three days of meetings with South Korean experts, corporate executives and local government officials to discuss new ideas like e-mobility, energy networks and the environmental impact of cars.
Peter Friedrich, minister for European and International Affairs of the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, led a delegation of auto industry leaders, experts and other state-level officials, including colleague Winfried Hermann, Baden-Wurttemberg’s minister of transportation and infrastructure. The German Embassy facilitated the three-day visit.
“Given Korea is very strong in the car industry, it only makes a lot of sense for the country to get a visit by our delegation,” Friedrich said. “Although research and development, commercial and economic cooperation between Baden-Wurttemberg and Korean counterparts are natural enough, public policy areas around transportation, energy and the environment are just as important.”
The team visited Hyundai Motors research center in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday, met officials at the Ministry of Environment on Wednesday and with officials from energy-related sectors.
Baden-Wurttemberg is Germany’s Motor City, where many automobile plants and research facilities are headquartered. German officials estimate about 1 million electric and hybrid cars will be on the road by 2020, with a large portion of production coming from Baden-Wurttemberg.