S. Korea sees slowed growth in new EV registrations in 2023

By Park Sae-jin Posted : April 2, 2024, 14:04 Updated : April 2, 2024, 17:58
Courtesy of Kia
[Courtesy of Kia]

SEOUL, April 02 (AJU PRESS) - South Korea saw a slower growth in new electric vehicle registrations last year, despite surpassing 500,000 registered EVs. This deceleration can be attributed to consumers' perceptions of clean energy vehicles and their charging infrastructure as inconvenient.

Forbes, a prominent American business magazine, analyzed in November 2023 that the slowdown in the global demand for EVs was affected by various factors including unfamiliarity with new products, concerns about short driving range after charging, and limited infrastructure.

In South Korea, EV charging stations can easily be found at public places such as shopping malls, expressway service stops, apartment complex parking lots, and public administrative building complexes. Sometimes EV charging stations are preoccupied and drivers have to wait for their turn.

According to data released by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on Tuesday, a total of 543,900 EVs were registered as of December 2023, up 39.5 percent from 389,855 in 2022. The number of EVs has increased by more than 100,000 units annually since 2017 but the growth rate dropped by 29 percent point compared to 68.5 percent in 2022.

KAMA's data showed that a total of 305,309 EV chargers were in operation by the end of 2023, up 48.8 percent compared to 2022. There was one charger for every two EVs but the increase rate in numbers dropped by 43.5 percent point from 92.3 percent in 2022.

While the increase rate of EVs and their charging infrastructure was sluggish, sales of hybrid vehicles including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fuel hybrid electric vehicles (FHEVs) stood at 391,000 units last year, up 42.5 percent from a year ago. The boost in hybrid vehicle sales was attributed to a variety of new South Korean-made sport utility vehicle (SUV) models with hybrid variants. Hyundai Motor and Kia released full-sized SUV models -- Sorento Hybrid and Santa Fe Hybrid in 2023 -- to attract consumers who favor spacious larger vehicles over sedans.
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