Korean carmakers step up R&D to build affordable electric vehicles

South Korean carmakers and the government are stepping up research and development (R&D) to build affordable electric-powered vehicles with good range, industry sources said Monday. Sources said the plan is to make electric vehicles (EV) that cost under 30 million won (US$27,900) and travel at least 300 kilometers on a single power charge by 2020.

Seoul has already earmarked 130 billion won to be used until 2018 to make EVs and next-generation energy storage systems so that 75 percent of all rechargeable batteries can be made in the country without foreign assistance. The present self-sufficiency rate stands at around 20 percent. Key to that is the development of a high-density lithium-ion battery, with a master plan to be drawn by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy by March. Making high-endurance, cheap batteries is critical because they account for roughly 60 percent of an EV’s price tag.

At present, EVs made by U.S. carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. have a range of up to 370 kilometers, which is competitive vis-a-vis conventional cars with an internal compression engine, but such EV models have prohibitive sticker prices of $63,000. Tesla reported sales reaching 2,000 units per month.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

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