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Homeplus to sell cars, offer EV charging services

Officials are charging an electric vehicle from an EV charger installed at Homeplus Gangseo branch in Seoul. (Homeplus)
Officials are charging an electric vehicle from an EV charger installed at Homeplus Gangseo branch in Seoul. (Homeplus)

Homeplus will sell cars and install electric vehicle charging stations, as part of its efforts to provide more reasons for customers to visit its physical stores other than grocery shopping, the hypermarket chain said Monday.

Homeplus’ plans for the new mobility service platform cover a wide range of services, and it is currently taking preorders for two electric motorcycles from DNA Motors -- EM-1 and Zappy 1 -- and preparing to launch a rental service, the company said.

“By offering a wide choice of convenient customer services that can only be seen at Homeplus, we seek to strengthen the mobility service platform and provide reasons for customers to visit offline stores,” the retail giant said via press release.

As for selling cars, Homeplus will offer various brands and powertrains, such as Renault Samsung’s Zoe electric vehicle, as well as certified second-hand cars.

By 2023, some 2,000 electric vehicle chargers will be installed at Homeplus outlets across the country, up from the current 120 in operation at 95 branches in partnership with Daeyoung Chaevi, a Korean charger producer and operator.

The company cited government data that as of November last year, public chargers can only cover about 62,000 units, less than half the 128,000 EVs registered in Korea.

Homeplus will also introduce Battery Service Stations for motorcycles, where users can swap their batteries with fully-charged ones. The company will join hands with DNA Motors to expand the battery swap stations from current three to 50 outlets by the end of this year.

For the Hyundai Motor Test-drive Center that is currently in operation at Homeplus Ansan Gojan branch in Gyeonggi Province, Homplus said it will reinforce the service and expand the facility.

Having been acquired by MBK Partners in 2015, the company underwent a reorganization in July 2020 to establish the Automobile & Accelerating business team in charge of developing car-related business models and operation, the company added.

By Jo He-rim (