There is a global activity to phase out internal combustion engines (ICE). Policymakers are working on supporting eco-friendly vehicles, and automotive manufacturers are keep investing in EVs. Though the advancement of ICEs has been going on for over 100 years, EVs are catching up pretty fast.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) expects EV sales to rise from a few thousands in 2010 and 2 million in 2018, to 10 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030, and 56 million by 2040.
This means it will take 57% of global passenger car sales, making EVs take 30% of cars in use in the world.
How about EV market in South Korea? ‘The Mid-term Strategies and Road Map for Eco-friendly Motor Vehicle Distribution’ formulated my South Korean government expects EV sales in commercial use to rise from zero in 2013 and 2.4% in 2019, to 14.4%, which is approximately 250,000 vehicles.
Considering the size of the EV market was almost invisible only a few short years ago, the growth rate is remarkable. And here is why.
Main reason for the EV market growth is that the government subsidies for EV consumption and tax discounts attract consumers. So, the high price of EVs became less burdening, and EV is now as cost efficient as Internal combustion engines.
Though Korean government is now slashing subsidies for EVs, still it provides benefits up to $16,000 (which depends in part on city or model)
In addition to subsidies, various tax discounts also make an EV efficient. Its prioritization in the country makes it highly profitable: Its use implies considerable amount of savings in circulation, tolls, parking, etc. Plus, one of the biggest savings is the cost of fuel, because electricity costs much less than fossil fuels such as gasoline, diesel, or LPG.
When commuting costs between the capital city and its neighboring towns (approx. 70km) were compared, Internal combustion engines cost $170, public transportations $80, and EVs only $15 every month.
EVs are more expensive in terms of initial investment, but become more cost effective than Internal combustion engines as time exceeds around 5 years, in terms of total cost ownership (TCO).
Infrastructure – the number of EV charging station exceeding gas stations
EVs wouldn’t have been this attractive, if it were not for the enough number of charging station. A wide range of infrastructure is inevitable indeed. The number of EV stations was 9,450 in March 2019, which is 80% of gas stations’. Already, there are almost twice as many EV fast-charging stations (3,581) as LPG stations (1,192), meaning that there is one station for every five EVs.
Compared with earlier times, the number of EV charging stations is growing rapidly. However, one area in which EVs still fall short is refueling time, so it is true that more EV stations are required.
Korean government has announced its plan to establish 12,000 regular charger and 10,000 fast charger by 2022.
The Mighty Performance
What was the biggest downside that each individual needed to consider before they decide to make an electric car their next big investment? ‘All-Electric Range’ was not long enough, so people just couldn’t use it for long journeys. However, advancement of technologies now makes EV run for over 300 kilometers on a single charge.
EV performance is also remarkable.
An electric motor has high torque at low rpm, and such instant torque gives the car great acceleration from a dead stop. Besides, EVs do not feature a multi-speed gearbox like conventional ICEs, and driving on slopes becomes much easier because of linear power systems technology.
Besides, the lower center of gravity also improves the stability of the car considerably, making driving more fun, not to mention that EVs make little noise or vibration.
Paradigm of Being Eco-Friendly Has Changed
Some skeptics say EVs are not always eco-friendly, since electricity itself is usually generated from fossil fuel. To look deeper, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ICEs were calculated for the Well-to-Wheel process. Then, researchers analyzed how much GHG emissions were associated with EVs when the electricity is generated solely by each power source (coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear or renewables) for the Well-to-Wheel process.
The results showed that the GHG emissions attributed to ICEs that use fossil fuels were considerably higher than the emissions attributed to EVs that use electricity generated by coal, and this was followed by ICEs running on diesel. Given the fact that coal does not take up more than 29%(2017) of the whole energy consumption in Korea, EVs definitely emit less GHG than ICEs do, making EVs much more eco-friendly than ICEs that use any kind of fossil fuels.
The global usage of renewable energy sources is growing faster than that of fossil fuels, and this makes EVs even more attractive.
Governments and organizations have made policies to boost the eco-friendly vehicle market, and global automakers have developed EVs so that they could challenge ICEs. More infrastructures are making EVs more convenient. Eco-friendliness of EVs makes them even more attractive. Now, sky is the limit.