Seoul City announced Thursday that it plans to change its bus fleet with 7,427 buses, from compressed natural gas-fueled buses to electric vehicles in the coming decade.
The capital city said, as the initial step, 40 electric buses will replace the corresponding CNG buses in 2018.
The road map is to replace 4,030 more buses by 2025. Seoul City further hopes to change the remaining 3,000 buses from 2026.
An electric bus model with a 300-kilometer range was recently produced, enabling the plan. Previous models, able to run between 100 to 200 kilometers with a single charge, were difficult to utilize for long-distance routes.
City officials are worried that some bus operators might disagree with the new plan. It is to offer a subsidy of 250 million won ($230,000) to the operators for buying a single electric bus, which costs around 500 million won. The operators would have to cover for the remaining 200 million won for each bus.
Previously, with the CNG bus which costs around 200 million won, the government and the operators shared the burden equally, paying 100 million won each. Operators have to pay an extra 100 million won with the new change.
“There is a supplementary burden for the operators. Electric buses, however, do not charge fuel,” a city official said. “Local buses are one of the main reasons for the fine dust in the city. This is a policy to ameliorate the atmosphere and make Seoul better.”
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org)