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Seoul city, affiliated agencies to buy more EVs amid rising fine dust concerns

All Headlines 10:58 May 29, 2016

SEOUL, May 29 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Sunday said it plans to buy more pure electric vehicles (EVs) to replace existing internal combustion engine cars for use by its officials amid growing health concerns related to fine dust.

The municipal authority said it is considering increasing its eco-friendly, zero-emission vehicle fleet starting in 2017, with the electrified versions of the Kia Motors Corp. Soul and Ray models, as well as the Ioniq, from sister company, Hyundai Motor Co., being considered.

South Korea's capital city owns 95 EVs, with affiliated agencies and public companies having another 84 units.

More carmakers have been churning out EVs, increasing options for buyers.

"The move comes as health concerns related to fine dust coming from diesel cars have generated considerable attention in recent months," a city official said.

In the past, South Koreans favored gasoline engine vehicles that emit less dust, but in more recent years they have started to buy large numbers of diesels that offer much better fuel economy.

Heath experts said inhaling fine particles can cause bronchial complications even in healthy people, while it can be life threatening for patients suffering from acute asthma and those with obstructive pulmonary disease.

The city said all affiliated agencies will start buying the green cars that emit nothing but water next year so they can be used as their official vehicles.

Seoul already has a quota mandating a quarter of all new cars it buys be eco-friendly vehicles, but this percentage will be increased.

Related to the plan, the city said it inked a pack with the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. to build more fast recharging stations around the city. The availability of recharging stations is viewed as the key to the future growth of the EV market.

The city, meanwhile, said Mayor Park Won-soon will also give up his large diesel powered Kia Carnival minivan for an EV in June or July.

Insiders said the mayor is leaning toward the Ioniq that has a touted range of 190 kilometers on a single charge.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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