SEJONG — South Korea will fuel demand for hydrogen cell cars by making them more affordable and building up necessary infrastructure, the government said Tuesday.
The plan aims to bring down prices of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) from around 85 million won (US$71,900) as of early this year to around 30 million won in 2018, that will give it price competitiveness vis-a-vis conventional vehicles, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
This it said can help Asia’s fourth largest economy reduce the amount of green house gases it releases into the atmosphere and create a new growth industry.
To meet this target, Seoul will increase the number of buyers who can benefit from 27.5 million won state subsidies when buying FCEVs, as well as providing exemption from various taxes. The ministry said it is also moving to get regional governments to provide additional support to people buying the eco-friendly cars.
“The ultimate goal is to have some 9,000 hydrogen cars on the street by 2020, compared to just 71 this year, with this number to rise to 63,000 units a decade later,” the ministry said.
By 2030, some 10 percent of all new cars sold will be FCEVs, which use fuel cell stacks to produce electricity from hydrogen. The electricity then powers the on-board electric motor, with the only by-product being water.
Besides subsidies and tax breaks, the government plans to help carmakers lower production costs and will aggressively move to increase the number of hydrogen recharging stations in the country. This is critical for growth of hydrogen cars.
“There should be some 80 recharging stations in 2020 with this number to reach 520 in 2030 and 1,500 by 2050,” it said.
The ministry said it will, moreover develop advanced know-how related to fueling stations and help improve the efficiency of hydrogen cars by 10 percent from now until 2020.
If the plan moves ahead, the country can cut back on greenhouse gases by some 4.4 million tons and reduce 5,500 tons of other pollutants released into the atmosphere. More FCEVs can reduce the country’s fossil fuel consumption by 630 million liters, with related industry generating 84 trillion won in business and create 94,000 new jobs.
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. is a pioneer in FCEVs, with its Tucson variant being the first mass produced fuel cell car in the world.