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More students now attracted to electric vehicles

June 27,2017
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As more electric vehicles hit Korean roads, a growing number of young people are considering these vehicles for their future cars.

Hyundai Mobis, the auto-parts maker, released a report on Monday showing that college students’ interest in electric vehicles continues to rise. Meanwhile, interest in other types of green cars, namely hybrids, declined. The company has been conducting the survey on college students annually since 2012.

Mobis surveyed some 1,000 students from 28 universities across the country. About 68 percent responded positively when asked whether they would purchase eco-friendly cars in the future. Among them, about 32 percent chose electric vehicles as their most preferred type. This figure is notably higher than in previous surveys.

During the 2016 survey, about 71.2 percent said they were willing to purchase eco-friendly automobiles. About 29 percent of those said they would prefer electric cars. In 2015, only 22 percent who said they intend to buy eco-friendly cars said they preferred electric cars.

The shift is in line with the rise in sales of electric cars in Korea.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, about 11,000 electric cars were registered by the end of 2016. The total number of registered EVs, however, reached nearly 15,000 units earlier this year after 3,213 electric vehicles were registered from January to April. During the same time last year, only 454 new electric cars were sold.

“It seems like electric cars are gaining popularity among college students as their sales rise drastically compared to previous years,” said a spokesperson from the auto-parts maker.

Students interested in eco-friendly cars were generally concerned with cost-effectiveness - 51.2 percent considered fuel-efficiency the biggest reason to buy an eco-friendly car. Tax benefits were next in line.

Still, students are aware that to be more pragmatic, eco-friendly cars require necessary infrastructure, especially charging stations for fully electric cars. In 2016, 17 percent of respondents who rejected the idea of buying eco-friendly cars cited a lack of infrastructure. This year, that figure jumped to 28 percent.

“I would be scared of the car stopping in the middle of the road,” said Lee Jung-min, a recent college graduate. “and not being able to charge it.”


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]