SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Sales of eco-friendly autos in South Korea surged 22 percent in the first eight months of the year, driven by demand from fuel-conscious consumers and hefty state subsidies, industry data showed Sunday.
According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), 69,834 eco-friendly cars were sold in the country, up 21.9 percent from a year earlier.
Hybrid autos accounted for the lion’s share at 64.7 percent of the total with 45,185 units, followed by electric autos with 31.8 percent, or 22,209 units, fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) with 3.1 percent, or 2,145 units, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) with 0.4 percent, or 295 units, the data showed.
South Korea will offer more than 1 trillion won (US$833 million) in subsidies to people who buy electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles next year to promote the use of eco-friendly vehicles that do not emit the greenhouse gases largely responsible for global warming.
The government has set aside 738.2 billion won to make sure that the number of electric vehicles on the road rises by 71,000 in 2020, nearly doubling from a rise of 43,000 units in 2019, a finance ministry official said earlier.
In particular, South Korea has been seeking to go green and boost the hydrogen economy as a new growth engine.
The subsidies will also be used in expanding charging stations for electric cars and hydrogen FCEVs.
In January, South Korea said it will increase the number of hydrogen FCEVs to about 80,000 units by 2022 as part of a broader effort to boost the hydrogen economy.
A hydrogen fuel cell electric car only releases water vapor as it converts stored hydrogen into electricity to turn the motor.
Global carmakers have been racing to go eco-friendly amid tightened regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases, which scientists say are to blame for global warming.
In the meantime, sales of diesel-powered passenger cars dropped 16.4 percent on-year to reach 254,342, according to the data.