South Korea will seek to boost demand for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by bringing prices down and expanding refueling infrastructure, officials said Tuesday.
Hyundai Motor’s Tucson ix fuel-cell electric vehicle (Hyundai Motor)
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the government would expand state subsidies and waive taxes to bring down the prices of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to around 35 million won ($29,000) by 2018 from the current 85 million won.
It will offer a 27.5 million won in subsidy and tax benefits to each buyer of a fuel cell car, the officials said.
Under the scheme, the government aims to ensure that there are more than 9,000 hydrogen fuel cell cars on the road by 2020 and 630,000 by 2030. Should that happen, hydrogen fuel cell cars will account for 10 percent of all new cars sold in the country in 2030. Just 71 hydrogen fuel cell cars were sold this year.
“The government will increase the number of buyers who can benefit from 27.5 million won in state subsidies when buying FCEVs, as well as providing exemption from various taxes to meet the target,” the ministry said in a press release.
The ministry said it would also negotiate with regional governments to provide additional support to fuel cell car buyers.
The plan was unveiled a week after the ministry announced that it will seek to have more than 1 million eco-friendly cars such as hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles on the road by 2020.
Having 63,000 FCEVs on the street by 2030 will enable the country to cut carbon emissions by 4.4 million tons and reduce 5,500 tons of other pollutants released into the atmosphere, government data showed.
According to the plan, some 80 hydrogen refueling stations will be built by 2020 and the number will be increased to 520 by 2030. The government is committed to providing 1.5 billion won of subsidies per station.
Amid the global auto industry trend toward more eco-friendly vehicles, the plan is expected to generate new growth momentum for carmakers such as Hyundai Motor, which has commercialized a hydrogen-powered car -- the Tucson ix Fuel Cell SUV in 2013.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)