Many plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that have become the mainstream of environmentally-friendly vehicles will be introduced in Korea next year. As PHEVs capable of guaranteeing around 50km per liter will appear in the Korean market, there will be a strong fever for environmentally-friendly vehicles.
According to sources the industry on Oct. 13, PHEV became the hottest topic at the 2014 Paris Motor Show to end on Oct. 19. PHEVs introduced in this show will be launched in Korea next year.
Finally, automakers from Europe and Japan introduced various PHEV models including sedans, sports cars, and super cars at this Paris Motor Show. These companies wordlessly predicted that PHEVs will become the general trend for a while.
PHEV fever started in Paris this time and will come to Korea next year. In fact, Hyundai-Kia Motor announced that its PHEV models will be released late next year. Many foreign automakers including Toyota are planning to launch their PHEV models late next year as well.
Toyota is welcoming this trend the most. While other automobile companies were focusing on diesel and electric vehicles, Toyota has been concentrating on the hybrid technology and walking the path of an artisan. Toyota will launch the Prius PHV in Korea during the second half of next year. The price of the Prius PHV is 3.3 million yen (approximately 32.9 million won or US$30,737) in Japan. Considering the import costs, the price is expected to be around 40 million won (US$37,572) in Korea.
The first PHEV model to be offered to the Korean consumers, though, is likely to be BMW's i8. This model was scheduled to be launched in Korea at the end of this year, but delayed to early next year due to insufficient production. This model has a very good fuel efficiency of 57.6km/l, but the price will be the most important variable for purchasing. The price in Korea is estimated to be around 200 million won (US$188,346). Benz and Audi will release the S500 PHEV and A3 Sportback e-tron, respectively, by next year. Both of these models have fuel efficiency at around 50km/l and will be priced at over 100 million won (US$94,173).
In Korea, Hyundai-Kia Motor will challenge the foreign automakers with its PHEV Sonata and K5 models. Hyundai-Kia Motor plans to secure price competitiveness through 100 percent of domestic production. Specific data on the automobile materials have not yet been disclosed.
In the meantime, the PHEV market will grow very fast, as the government decided to provide subsidies. Considering the proportion of electric vehicle batteries, which is half, the subsidy is likely to be half of the current amount (1.5 million won, or US$1,410). There are not enough charging facilities in Korea yet, but industry projects that such a problem will be quickly solved once the vehicles are officially introduced and sold.