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S. Korea to develop infrastructure for electric cars

South Korea will invest 32.2 billion won ($29.24 million) over the next three years to expand its infrastructure for electric cars, including the installation of more than 5,000 new recharging plug-ins, the government said Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, only about 3,000 electric vehicles have been sold in the country, compared with over 260,000 in the United States and 95,000 in Japan.

"Sales and use of electric cars in the country have been kept at minimum due to the lack of recharging stations while electric car sales largely depend on government subsidies," the ministry said in a press release.

To help encourage the development of the necessary infrastructure by the private sector, the ministry signed a memorandum of understanding on forming a special project company with five public and private firms that will build new charging stations.

The companies include the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp.

and top local automaker Hyundai Motor Group. The companies will jointly invest 32.2 billion won (US$29.24 million) over the next three years to install 5,580 charging plug-ins throughout the country, the ministry said.

Of the total, 2,750 plug-ins will be installed in residential areas with the rest to be installed at new charging stations to be built.

The government also seeks to increase the number of electric cars in the country, supplying some 3,000 electric vehicles for public use in 2015 alone.

Starting this year, all public offices, including state-run universities, are also required to buy electric cars for at least 25 percent of all of their new cars. (Yonhap)