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EV expo kicks off in Jeju to promote zero-emission tech

Businesspeople, experts, investors and government representatives from around the world will gather on the South Korean resort island of Jeju to promote carbon-free mobility technology at an international exhibition that kicks off Wednesday.

The sixth annual International Electric Vehicle Expo -- the world’s first and largest event dedicated entirely to EVs and EV components, technology and infrastructure -- runs May 8-11 at International Convention Center Jeju, organizers said Monday.

Ioniq (Hyundai Motor)
Ioniq (Hyundai Motor)

More than 150 companies, including carmakers and parts makers, are expected to participate in the event to showcase their latest EV technologies. This year’s event, themed “Drive Evolution,” will shine a light on small- and medium-sized companies and homegrown component makers that are fast entering the EV market, said Kim Dae-hwan, chairman of the organizing committee.

“This year’s event will mark a turning point for SMEs in and out of the country that have been striving to develop their own zero-emission technologies to break the dominance of large carmakers and to offer diverse and unique choices for customers especially in the segment of ultra-compact EVs,” he said.

“We will also look deeper into the evolving technologies in the component sector to see how traditional elements of vehicles are being replaced by new materials and new ideas.”

Among the discussion topics will be the new market for custom-built EVs -- created, for example, from old classic cars -- and its prospects for expansion. There will also be a demonstration of a new EV manufacturing method using 3D printing, he added.

Big-name participants such as Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover are set to present their latest EVs at the exhibition. Hyundai will unveil a face-lifted Ioniq Electric, while Nissan rolls out the second generation of its best-selling EV Reef. British carmaker JLR will present an electric sport utility vehicle called the I-Pace. Parts makers Samsung SDI and Hyundai Mobis also plan to showcase in-vehicle products.

Regional players including Gangwon, North Chungcheong and Jeju provinces will take part in the expo as well, promoting their infrastructural and administrative advantages to companies in the future mobility business that are looking to expand -- a reflection of intensifying competition among local governments in this area. The ministries of commerce, environment, transport, SMEs and unification are among the event sponsors along with the Rural Development Administration.

To forge alliances for the development of EVs and the standardization of carbon-free technologies, 22 international conferences are scheduled. At one conference slated for Tuesday, experts from Korea and 10 Southeast Asian countries will gather to discuss the outlook for the EV industry and the importance of building partnerships in the region to ensure its healthy development in their respective markets.

Dignitaries participating in the expo will include Ossama Hassanein, chairman of the Rising Tide Fund based in California’s Silicon Valley, who will deliver the opening speech on the march toward vehicle electrification. Rowel S. Barba, undersecretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, and Anish Raghunandan, senior Tata Technologies’ vice president for East and South Asia, are scheduled to speak at the opening ceremony.

By Cho Chung-un (