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Hyundai Motor, Kia pledge to 100% renewable energy by 2050

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks at the P4G Seoul Summit in May in this image capture. (P4G Seoul Summit)
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun speaks at the P4G Seoul Summit in May in this image capture. (P4G Seoul Summit)

South Korean carmakers Hyundai Motor and Kia will join a global clean energy initiative and will transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, the firms’ parent Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday.

The automakers and three other units under the group will submit applications to become members of the RE100, a global initiative of companies and institutions committed to source 100 percent of energy it needs from renewable sources by 2050. The three others are Hyundai Mobis, Hyundai Wia and Hyundai Transys.

In a press release announcing the decision, Hyundai Motor Group said it will strive to achieve the goal early from 2040 onward -- ahead of RE100’s 2050 deadline -- depending on each company’s business conditions, energy supply and demand conditions.

The companies will deploy various measures to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and expand the use of clean energy, such as installing solar panels at their own facilities or buying electricity generated from renewable sources via power procurement agreements or the Korea Electric Power Corp.’s green premium program.

The group said the companies will also strive to nurture eco-friendly technologies and introduce more green cars to contribute to the global climate change action.

“The decision to join the RE100 club underscores our strong determination to attain net-zero carbon emissions,” said an official from the group. “Hyundai Motor Group will continue to move forward by carrying out social responsibility with its role in the global community and achieve sustainable development.”

Launched by the British nonprofit organization Climate Group in 2014, the RE100 has over 310 member companies as of end-June, including globally leading corporations such as Google, Apple and General Motors.

Each company makes a pledge to realize a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and is obliged to come up with an execution plan within the first year of entry. The Climate Group gives annual updates on the members’ progress.

Eight SK Group companies, including SK hynix, became the first to join the club from South Korea in December last year. Korean presence has since grown, with the addition of Amorepacific, Hanwha Q Cells, LG Energy Solution and others.

Hyundai Motor generates an annual 13,000 MWh of electricity from solar panels installed on the roof of its Asan plant and an additional 12,500 MWh at a solar power facility set up last year at its Ulsan factory.

Kia, in 2019, has established a system to replace all power used at its Slovakia plant with renewable energy, while Hyundai Mobis has switched fully to renewables with its operations in Slovakia and Sweden earlier this year.

At the P4G Seoul Summit in May, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun said taking concrete action is of “utmost importance” in tackling the climate change crisis.

“Our group will cooperate to achieve the global goal of carbon neutrality in all processes of vehicle production up to its disposal,” Chung said.

By Lee Si-jin (