South Korea Speeds Up Plans for Autonomous, Electric and Flying Cars
South Korea unveiled plans to speed up the adoption of electric cars, self-driving vehicles and even flying automobiles in the coming years to help revive a sagging economy.
President Moon Jae-in said in a speech Tuesday Korean companies will invest 60 trillion won ($50 billion) over the next decade into the future of transportation. The government will spend 2.2 trillion won to help develop related technology and help lay the groundwork for the infrastructure needed for things such as robocars, he said. Commercialization of fully autonomous vehicles will occur by 2027, or three years earlier than planned, he said.
Moon is betting that the investments will create jobs and spur an export-dependent economy that’s been among the hardest hit from global trade tensions, with the central Bank of Korea warning as recently as this month that it will be difficult to achieve 2.2% growth this year.
Moon also predicted that electric and hydrogen-fueled vehicles will account for 33% of automobiles sold in 2030, compared with about 2.6% in 2019. By comparison, China has said it is targeting all-electric cars, plugin hybrids and fuel-celled vehicles to account for 40% of all sales by 2030, a person familiar with the matter has said.
To promote sales of these vehicles, the government will consider extending subsidies to buyers and slashing hydrogen prices in half by 2030 from current levels, according to a joint statement by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and other ministries.
For autonomous driving, the government plans to set up regulations by 2024 so robocars will be able to operate on local roads — with varying degrees of driver supervision.
Korea also plans to set up a route system and safety rules by 2023 to start services of personal air vehicles from 2025, it said.
Oct. 16, 2019