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South Korea’s EV Sales in 2019 Increased by 12%, HEV/BEV Incentives Gradually Cutting Down

South Korea’s EV sales in 2019 increased by 11.9% to 138,000 units compared to the previous year. Although the passenger car market shrank by 1.5% to 1.54 million units, the electric vehicle (EV) sales were increased. The ratio of EV to the total passenger car sales expanded to 9.0%.

The sales of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) were increased by 10.4% to 98,000 units. Despite the negative factors such as the discontinuation of subsidy for HEV (up to 500,000 KRW) and the tendency of not purchasing Japanese brands, HEVs still attracted many consumers who value fuel economy the most. Regarding the sales of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), they were slightly increased by 3.6% to 31,000 units. A cutdown on the tax reduction for acquisition in 2019 might be one of the reasons why the sales of BEV did not go as well as expected. As for other EVs, the sales of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) were increased by 23.8% to 5,255 units while that of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) was increased by 5.7-fold to 4,194 units.

In South Korea, it seems that the sales of EVs are expected to continuously grow with the help of subsidies for EVs, especially for PHEVs. However, one should be aware of how the future incentive cutdowns for HEVs and BEVs affect EV sales.

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