SEJONG, Dec. 12 (Korea Bizwire) – The government will implement a pilot project this week to operate fuel cell hydrogen taxis for the first time in South Korea as part of its efforts to reduce gas emissions, the Environment Ministry said Monday.
The ministry plans to hold a ceremony Tuesday to mark the launch of the project in the southeastern industrial city of Ulsan in cooperation with the Ulsan municipality, Hyundai Motor Co. and local taxi operators.
Fuel cell vehicles, which use hydrogen gas to power an electric motor, produce no tailpipe pollution, as converting hydrogen gas into electricity produces only water and heat as a byproduct.
Under the project, the ministry will operate an initial 10 hydrogen fuel cell taxis, with each unit to be given a subsidy of 27.5 million won (around US$23,500), before adding five more in the first half of next year. The country’s top automaker, Hyundai Motor, will provide after-sale services and three taxi firms will operate the vehicles.
Ulsan was selected as the first venue of the project because the city is home to a Hyundai plant that produces hydrogen electric taxis and a petrochemical industrial complex that offers a good source of hydrogen gas.
The car model for the project is Hyundai Motor’s fuel cell hydrogen Tucson ix crossover.
The ministry will expand the operation of hydrogen electric vehicles to 130 units and set up 10 hydrogen-fueling stations in the cities of Ulsan, Changwon and Gwangju next year.