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President seen boosting smart-vehicle technology

May 11,2017
The new government is expected to spur belated growth in Korea’s auto industry, which still lags behind its global competitors in developing future auto technology.

Pursuing the fourth industrial revolution has been one of President Moon Jae-in’s core business tactics. In fact, he pledged to form an independent committee dedicated to it that works directly with him.

In his strategy, the president vowed to “overcome the low-growth economy by excavating and fostering new business that is going to generate high value,” adding that autonomous cars and electric vehicles will play a major role.

To achieve this goal, Moon pledged to develop eco-friendly and smart cars, which are associated with diverse sectors. Establishing a healthy ecosystem that would not only help the carmakers but bolster auto-parts makers, battery manufacturers and those responsible for setting up the necessary infrastructure is also part of his strategy.

Korea has been slow to adopt electric vehicles, likely a result of a lack of infrastructure and passive support from state government. According to Eugene Research and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the percentage of electric vehicles in Korea is below 0.1 percent but 0.9 percent in the United States and 1.6 percent in China.

Moon also said he will add more charging stations and raise government subsidies provided to electric-vehicle purchasers, although he hasn’t elaborated on those objectives.

He added that he will raise the number of electric vehicles owned by public institutions.

Moon also said he will develop the smart highway system in Korea to allow carmakers to test their autonomous driving technology on the roads. Establishing smart cities, where not only driverless vehicles, but also diverse interconnected city infrastructure to save energy was also included in his strategies to foster future technologies. Gwangju and Daegu are among the locations he mentioned to transform into smart cities.

Moon is also targeting the poor air quality in Korea. He promised to devise policies that help replace old motorcycles in the metropolitan area with electric motorcycles.

In an attempt to further improve air quality, Moon said he will suspend the operation of diesel-powered vehicles by 2030 and gradually increase the price of diesel by that year.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]