We begin with a major national push for green technology in the auto sector.
President Park Geun-hye opened an innovation center in the country′s southwestern city of Gwangju this Tuesday.
Korea wants the region to be a trend-setter… bubbling with creative ideas and vibrant start-ups for the future auto industry.
Choi You-sun reports on the new momentum to go green.
President Park, on Tuesday, launched an industrial complex in the southwestern city of Gwangju to help Korea emerge as a global leader of fuel-cell vehicle production.
The complex will work closely with the country′s largest auto group Hyundai, to develop next-generation fuel-cell cars, widely regarded as future eco-friendly transportation means in the developed world.
Fuel-cell vehicles, or FCVs, produce zero emission as they are run by electricity generated from a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen in the air.
The president said she anticipates a successful integration of Hyundai′s capabilities to mass-produce fuel-cell vehicles and Gwangju′s advanced hydrogen technology infrastructure to produce innovation.
Compared to electric cars, they can travel up to four times farther in distance from a single charge, with charging taking only three to five minutes.
Hyundai Motor is the world′s leading maker of FCVs, having started manufacturing the hydrogen version of its Tucson SUV in 2013.
It aims to take up half of the global fuel-cell vehicle market share by 2018.
But other global brands are catching up fast.
Japan′s Toyota, recently started selling ITS FCV, Mirai, at less than half the price, with hopes to sell more than 3-thousand units by the end of 2017.
Industry experts say the government and conglomerates should not only focus on R&D, but also investing in infrastructure, such as setting up more charging stations, to increase sales, which in turn lead to more investments.
Another task is to find ways to bring down the sale price by nearly a third, from the current 140-thousand dollars for a Tucson FCV.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.