By Hyunjin Choi
In the fast move of the world’s leading carmakers to produce eco-friendly cars such as electric and hydrogen cars, and autonomous cars, Korea is planning to invest 60 trillion won for transforming the conventional car industry into the future car industry, with two-thirds of the investment coming from Hyundai Motor Group. This master plan for the future industry was unveiled at a proclamation ceremony held at Hyundai Motors’ Namyang R&D Center in Hwaseoung, Gyeonggi Province.
President Moon Jae-in made a speech on South Korea’s vision to be a global leader in the future automotive industry at the ceremony. He stated that the government is going to nurture the future car industry with the purpose of becoming the world’s No.1 in car technologies by 2030. In line with the vision, the government will boost the domestic sales ratio of electric and hydrogen vehicles from the current 2.6% up to 33% of all vehicles sold in Korea by 2030, attaining the global market share of the car industry to 10% by the cited period, the President Moon Jae-in said.
The government disclosed another plan to commercialize the level 4 autonomous vehicles for the first time in the world by 2027, working on the commercialization of the level 3 and 4 self-driving cars at the same time. At level 4, self-driving cars are fully autonomous, but only under certain conditions.
As for infrastructures, the method of wireless communication networks will be determined whether to use WAVE or 5G by 2021 and set up by 2024. The government will get down to the process of unifying nationwide road signs as well as establishing an integrated control system and 3-dimensional precision maps by 2030. The related laws and regulations, including insurance policies will be prepared for autonomous cars accordingly.
To elevate the efficiency and performance of the electric and hydrogen cars, the possible driving distance from one-time charge is going to increase from 400 km to 600 km, with the time of charge three times faster by 2025. The expected budget for this will be around 385.6 billion won. The number of charging stations will reach up to 15,000 units for electric cars by 2025 and 660 units for hydrogen cars by 2030. The charging stations will be located strategically for users within 20 minutes of major cities for easy access.
Korea’s independence on the local key materials and parts required for the future car production will be raised from 50 percent to 80 percent. In this regard, the parts for the hydrogen vehicles are aimed to be produced all domestically and decrease the price of the car at the 40 million won level by 2025.
Other than eco-friendly and autonomous cars, the government also seeks to commercialize flying cars(PAV: Personal Air Vehicle), securing the core technology of high power motors and developing the PAV-only routes. Huge test-beds providing the future transportation system and self-driving linked services will be created in smart cities of Sejong and Busan. This smart city will supply AI-based transportation transfer systems and the most optimal navigation information.
With the government’s initiative, Hyundai Motor Group announced it will invest 41 trillion won, which accounts for two-thirds of the government’s projected budget for the future car industry by 2025. Also, the giant carmakers will open up its vehicle data to small-and-medium-sized automakers and startups, so it can bolster the domestic car industry.
Together with invigorating mobility startups and industry, the ministry expects that the blueprint on the future car industry will establish a safer driving environment for Korean drivers. The death toll is expected to decrease below 1,000 in 2030, compared with approximately 3,700 last year. The emission of greenhouse gases and fine dust will fall respectively 30 percent and 11 percent by 2030, the ministry added.
By Lee Jihae
The 2019 Hyundai Nexo, a vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells, has earned the highest safety ratings not only in Korea and Europe but also the U.S.
The Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested the Nexo at the request of Hyundai Motor Company, and in a report released on Aug. 8, the think tank gave the vehicle the Top Safety Pick Plus award, the highest issued by the IIHS.
This was the first time for the think tank to test a fuel cell vehicle. A model qualifies for the IIHS award if it earns good ratings in the driver- and passenger-side small overlap fronts, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. It must also have an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating.
The Nexo last year also earned a string of top safety awards in Europe and Korea. In October last year, it attained the highest safety grade of five stars from the New Car Assessment Program of Europe and in December, it won the award for best medium-size SUV from the Korean New Car Assessment Program of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.