The Korea Herald


Carmakers step up EV marketing

Seoul City plans to expand subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles

By Sohn Ji-young

Published : April 14, 2015 - 19:46

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Commercial electric vehicle makers are stepping up their efforts to boost their sales of green cars as Seoul City pledged to expand cash subsidies to customers.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government said it is accepting applications for a lottery to receive government subsidies for domestic EV purchases until June 5.

This year, the city plans to provide rebates to a total of 575 EV buyers ― offering around 15-20 million won ($14,000-18,000) each for 510 electric car purchases, 18-25 million won each for 45 electric trucks and 2.5 million won each for 20 electric motorbikes. Those selected will receive the subsidies in late June.

Fueled by Seoul City’s recent move, auto companies including Hyundai Motor, Renault Samsung, General Motors and BMW have stepped up their EV promotions, offering a number of incentives to buyers.

Electric car models eligible for the subsidies include the BMW i3, General Motors’ Chevrolet Spark, Renault Samsung’s SM3 Z.E. and Kia’s Ray and Soul EV models.

BMW is offering a range of incentives to customers who purchase the BMW i3 ― its flagship electric car model ― including hotel vouchers, specialized payment plans and an opportunity to test drive the BMW i8 for two days, among others.

GM is currently displaying the Chevrolet Spark EV at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul. The U.S. automaker is presenting extra discounts, a free battery installation service ― worth roughly 6 million won ― as well as a free exterior decoration package to buyers who purchase the EV model.

Renault Samsung is offering benefits such as independent subsidies and insurance services while Kia is offering specialized payment plans and discounted rental services.

Meanwhile, Seoul City plans to expand the number of charging stations for electric vehicles, aiming to acquire 500 rapid-charging stations by 2018 to reduce the inconvenience felt by EV drivers. Currently, 47 charging stations are set up at key city locations, according to officials.

As of 2014, there are 3,044 electric vehicles running in South Korea, according to the Ministry of Environment and regional authorities. After nationwide measures taken by the government this year to encourage the country’s EV usage, 3,090 more green cars are expected to be added.

The Environment Ministry plans to significantly increase the number of EVs running in the country by the end of 2016. Aiming to add 10,000 more EVs in the country next year, the ministry said it has asked the Finance Ministry to provide subsidies of 150 billion won, or 15 million won per vehicle.

By Sohn Ji-young (