By Kim Eun-young and Hahm Hee-eun
Amid growing interest in ultra-small electric vehicles (EVs), the government of Korea has revised the Enforcement Decree in the Automobile Management Act to boost domestic demand.
Renault Samsung Motors, which imports and distributes the two-seater Twizy, has sold over 1,141 units since its Korean debut in June 2017. The Danigo, a micro electric car from Daechang Motors, is also seeing growing demand. The first 100 Danigos were sold out via subscription as of March 10, and an additional 200 units were sold in one day.
The popularity of micro EVs has been noted in Europe and Japan, as well. Renault's Twizy is a representative case. The French company launched the Twizy in 2012 and has sold around 15,000 cars just in Europe. Policy-makers in Europe and Japan strive to write automobile laws that encourage the popularization of ultra-small electric cars.
The Twizy is popular not only for its low emission levels, but also for its convenience as a short-distance form of transportation. It's smaller than existing small cars, perfect for one or two people, and is both cheaper and easier to park.
On April 8, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation announced that an amendment to the Enforcement Decree of the Automobile Management Act will be legislated before May 15 to include micro EVs in the national car classification system.
According to the amendment, these micro cars will be included in the "light-weight vehicle" category. Compared to existing light-weight cars, the length and height are the same, but the width is narrower, at around 1.5 m. Engine displacement is less than 250 cc and their weight is less than 600 kg. Maximum speed is under 80 kph.
Consumers can also enjoy various benefits that come along with their purchase of a micro car. Owners of micro cars or regular EVs receive subsidies from the Ministry of Environment and local governments. Also, parking at public parking lots is less, just as for light-weight cars.
An official from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs predicted that, "If we work on it as soon as possible, micro cars could be separated from the light-weight category and get their own classification within the first half of the year,” and added that, “We plan to further review our current automobile classification system this year so that we can cover all types of automobiles.”