The sale of electric vehicles in South Korea has exceeded 10,000 units this year, reflecting a growing appetite for emissions-free cars and the country's improving charging infrastructure, industry data showed Monday.
In the January-October period, the number of electric cars sold here was 10,075 units, much higher than the 5,099 sold in the whole of 2016, according to data from the transport ministry and the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
The three best-selling models were Hyundai Motor Co.'s Ioniq Electric, Renault Samsung Motors Co.'s SM3 Z.E. and Kia Motors Corp.'s Soul EV, the data showed.
Korea's EV sales figures pale before the 150,000 EVs sold in China and 70,000 EVs in the United States in 2015. But domestic demand for EVs is expected to rise rapidly as carmakers plan to add new EV models to their lineup next year.
Hyundai Motor Co., the country's top automaker, plans to launch the electric version of the Kona subcompact SUV in early 2018. Its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. also plans to place the electric version of the Niro hybrid next year, the companies said.
Among imported carmakers, BMW, Nissan Co. and Tesla Motors Inc. have been aggressive in promoting their EV models such as the i3, Leaf and Model S 90D sedan, respectively.
To boost EV sales, along with increasing the number of chargers, the central government offers 14 million won ($12,211) in subsidies, and provincial governments additionally provide subsidies worth up to 10 million won. (Yonhap)