Local automotive and energy companies, the government and provincial governments will join hands to increase the number of hydrogen powered cars in Korea.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced that it held a launch event for the Hydrogen Fusion Alliance, a consultative body of the public and private sectors, at The Plaza Hotel in Sogong-dong, Seoul, on August 24. The alliance is comprised of the MOTIE, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, the local governments of Ulsan, Gwangju and South Chungcheong Province, makers of hydrogen powered cars and their parts, like Hyundai Motor Co., hydrogen producers and suppliers, including Deokyang Co., hydrogen fueling station installers, such as EM Solution Co., energy companies, including the state-run Korea Gas Corp. and learned societies like the Korean Hydrogen and New Energy Society.
The Hydrogen Fusion Alliance decided to increase the number of hydrogen powered cars and hydrogen fueling stations throughout the country on the same day. It will also operate a task force team to popularize hydrogen energy and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), establish companies which install and operate hydrogen fueling stations, foster other hydrogen car-related business and seek international cooperation. In addition, the alliance plans to set up special purpose companies in order to install and operate hydrogen charging stations.
Major developed countries, including the U.S., the European Union and Japan, is also promoting the distribution of hydrogen powered cars and their infrastructure through a consultative body of the public and private sectors. Korea secured the high level of technology which can mass produce FCEVs in 2013 for the first time in the world. However, the related businesses in the country is still small. Market watchers think that high vehicle prices and inadequate charging infrastructure ensnares the growth of hydrogen car-related businesses. So far, a total of 78 FCEVs have been sold by mostly provincial governments and public organizations, while 10 charging stations are operated for research and demonstration in Korea.
The MOTIE announced its plan on July 7 to have 10,000 hydrogen powered cars, establish 100 hydrogen fuel stat9j0s and export 14,000 fuel cell cars by 2020 as part of its efforts to advance electric and hydrogen powered cars. In addition, the regional governments of Ulsan, Gwangju and South Chungcheong Province have designated the hydrogen-related industry as a strategic growth engine in the regulation-free zones to promote the industry.
Hyundai Motor plans to launch hydrogen fuel cell buses at the end of this year and new models which have better prices and performance than the current Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell in early 2018. Gwangju will start a car sharing pilot project using 15 to 20 EVs and FCEVs in the second half of the year, while Ulsan plans to push ahead with a hydrogen fuel cell taxi pilot project.