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Carmakers intensify competition in plug-in hybrid car sector

All News 11:19 June 13, 2016

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest carmaker, said Monday it plans to roll out a plug-in hybrid version of its K5 midsize sedan next month, the latest in a series of moves by carmakers to jostle for a position in the country's nascent market for eco-friendly vehicles.

The vehicle, debuted at the Busan International Motor Show earlier this month, can travel up to 44 kilometers in electric mode. When the battery runs out, the vehicle can be switched to hybrid mode.

Kia's larger sister company Hyundai Motor Co. unveiled the Sonata plug-in hybrid electric vehicle last July.

Plug-in cars make use of both an internal combustion engine and a battery pack that can be recharged from an external power outlet. They are regarded as an improvement over hybrid cars as they can run longer with electricity.

GM Korea, the local unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co., released the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid with an extended driving range during the motor show in Busan. The vehicle can travel up to 89 kilometers in electric mode.

BMW Korea Co., the local unit of the German carmaker, said it plans to unveil its new X5 xDrive40e and 330e plug-in hybrid electric vehicles later this year.

Mercedes-Benz Korea, the local unit of the German luxury car brand, said its new S500e plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will hit showrooms later this year. The vehicle can drive up to 33 kilometers purely on electricity, according to the company.

Hyundai Motor, which set up 220 charging stations for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles last year, plans to add another 80 charging stations this year and to dramatically increase the number of charging stations across the country.

POSCO, South Korea's No. 1 steelmaker, also set up 300 charging stations for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles last year.
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