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Korea lags behind rivals in EV usage

Norway leads global electric vehicle market: IHS report

By 손지영

Published : July 19, 2015 - 17:39

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Countries around the globe have been working to expand the development and use of eco-friendly vehicles as part of the world’s increasing push to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

As most advanced countries strive to promote green driving, Norway has taken the lead in successfully expanding its global electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle market, according to a recent analysis by industry watcher IHS Automotive.


Norway ranked first on the new IHS Automotive Plug-in Electric Vehicle Index, which ranks the market share of plug-in electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle registrations in a given quarter for eight countries.

With EVs and PHEVs representing one-third of all new vehicles registered there during the first quarter of this year, Norway led the rankings with more than 8,000 new registrations, marking a 41 percent on-year increase in volume from the same period in 2014. 

“No import taxes on EVs, among other incentives, have made these vehicles a viable alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles in Norway,” IHS said in its analysis, adding that the Volkswagen e-Golf was the dominant model sought by Norwegian consumers.

The Netherlands experienced the second-largest growth in EV shares in the first quarter, with roughly 5,700 newly registered units representing 5.7 percent of the market. Britain came in third with 8,684 units, taking up a market share of 1.2 percent.

In terms of absolute volume, the United States and China recorded the highest number of new EV and PHEV registrations in the first quarter, with nearly 15,000 registrations in the U.S. and roughly 13,000 in China. 

Yet, the market share for EV and PHEVs in the two countries remained low, with such vehicles representing just 0.8 percent in the U.S. and 0.3 percent in China during the same period.

South Korea, which was not included in the eight countries assessed by IHS, remains far down in the list in terms of EV usage and development. In 2014, there were 3,044 electric vehicles registered in the country, or about 0.5 percent of the world’s total, according to the Ministry of Environment.

Though the Korean government has been making continued efforts to encourage green driving -- including expanding state subsidies and necessary infrastructures for EV users -- industry watchers said larger changes were needed to better commercialize EVs in the country.

“A major paradigm shift is necessary for Korea to drive up the number of eco-friendly vehicles in the country,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim University during the 2015 Seoul Forum on Air Quality Improvement last week.

Such a shift includes establishing a control tower to oversee the execution of government policies, conducting case studies on successful EV policies from overseas as well as the development of a comprehensive support system to drive up public demands for EVs, among others, according to Kim.

Meanwhile, 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 has reportedly asked the Finance Ministry to provide subsidies of 150 billion won ($130 million), or 15 million won per vehicle.

By Sohn Ji-young (jys@heraldcorp.com)