SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – Demand for electric vehicles is skyrocketing this year thanks to new government policies on EV subsidies.
According to the Ministry of Environment, the number of EV subsidy applications has already surpassed the 1,200 mark just three weeks after the process began on January 25, which is four times greater than was recorded in the same period in 2016.
The unprecedented popularity has urged 33 local governments, including Gwangju, Sejong, and Jeonju, to close their application process earlier than initially planned, while cities like Cheongju, which began offering EV subsidies for the first time this year, even saw dozens of people lining up overnight to get their hands on the limited promotion.
The ministry announced last year that it would support 14,000 new EV purchases in 2017 to boost the number of eco-friendly vehicles on the road. In accordance with the new policy, 14 million won ($12,261) in government subsidies, and up to 12 million won (a minimum of 3 million won) from local governments are now up for grabs for those looking to buy electric cars.
The ministry said it plans to reevaluate its budget for EV subsidies in April based on EV sales performance this year up until March, to allocate more funds to regions with higher demand, and provide financial support to local governments that have yet to offer EV subsidies.
To better accommodate the increasing number of EV drivers, the government reduced the fast-charging rate from 313.1 won/kWh last year to 173.8 won/kWh starting in January, and is offering an additional 50 percent discount for those using a Green Card (a credit card issued by BC Card).
Officials expect to install at least 10,000 new EV chargers across the country this year, for a total of 20,000, in addition to 2,600 fast chargers at highway rest stops and discount stores, and 20,000 at homes and workplaces.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)