Friday, November 1, 2013

GM Korea jumps into electric car market

GM’s Spark EV has the same appearance as the Chevrolet Spark compact. But as the gasoline engine has been replaced by a battery and motor, the Spark EV can travel up to 135 km on a single charge.
GM Korea has joined the race to produce electric cars for the domestic market. It announced on Monday that it has started producing electric cars after delivering 10 units to its first domestic customer, the Changwon municipal government, at a launch ceremony held at its plant in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.
Earlier this month, Renault Samsung began producing its own mid-size electric car at its plant in Busan.
GM’s Spark EV has the same appearance as the Chevrolet Spark compact. But as the gasoline engine has been replaced by a battery and motor, the Spark EV can travel up to 135 km on a single charge. It is priced at W39.9 million, making it four times more expensive than other compacts of the same class (US$1=W1,061).
However, drivers can get the car for as little as W18.9 million due to subsidies from both the Environment Ministry (W1.5 million) and local governments (W6 million). As such subsidies are limited, GM Korea does not expect to see high sales at first.
The carmaker has not decided yet how many electric vehicles it will produce at its plant in Changwon, as it is difficult to estimate demand from overseas. It has shipped out about 1,000 units to the U.S. since May. It will determine the production volume after gauging market demand, the automaker said.