Auto Makers Criticize Seoul Over Electric Cars
16 Novembre 2012 - Wall Street Journal
South Korea trumpeted its recent selection as the host of a United Nations’ program to combat climate change. But auto makers say it is stalling on one tool for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions: electric cars.
Slow progress in building charging stations for the vehicles and a U-turn on subsidies is likely to delay next year’s planned commercial rollout of such cars, the companies say.
South Korea made the spread of electric cars part of a “low-carbon, green-growth” initiative in 2008. Two years later the government issued a “road map” that included subsidies for electric-car purchases and loans to build more than a million charging points by 2020.
But that program is running low on juice, in part because a stabilization of oil prices has damped expected consumer momentum for costly pure-electric vehicles.
South Korea celebrated its green credentials last month when it was selected to host the secretariat for the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund, which supports developing countries in adopting new technology to counter climate change.
Yet South Korea’s Finance Ministry rebuffed a recent request from the Environment Ministry to provide electric-car subsidies for private buyers, citing insufficient demand. However, the government has earmarked 27.6 billion won ($25.3 million) for purchases of 1,000 electric cars by public organizations next year.
Car makers say the government needs to do more to jump-start growth in sales of electric vehicles.