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Private-gov't body launches to foster hydrogen car sector

All Headlines 06:00 August 24, 2016

SEJONG, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government on Wednesday launched a consultative body of the public and private sectors in order to steer the hydrogen car industry to a leading growth engine of Asia's fourth-largest economy, the trade ministry here said.

Led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the alliance for hydrogen convergence is comprised of provincial governments and local automotive and energy companies including Hyundai Motor Co., the country's largest carmaker, SK Gas and the state-run Korea Gas Corp.

The entity will play a leading role in mapping out long-term plans to support the development of hydrogen cars, which have much potential but are costly in terms of initial investment, said the ministry.

It will also operate a task force team to expand hydrogen-fueling stations throughout the country and foster other hydrogen car-related business.

"The hydrogen-electric car industry is emerging as an alternative to conventional vehicles that emit greenhouse gases and fine dusts," Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan said in a launching ceremony in Seoul. "The alliance will sharpen the competitive edge for South Korean hydrogen fuel carmakers and energy businesses."

Last month, the government announced a plan to export 14,000 fuel cell cars and set up 100 hydrogen fuel stations by 2020 as part of its efforts to transform the fossil-fuel dependent economy into a renewable energy-led one.

The hydrogen cell car sector has been on the front burner of the South Korean policy scheme for years, with Hyundai Motor's Tucson becoming the first mass produced fuel cell car in the world in 2013.

But high prices of the eco-friendly car and a lack of fuel stations have been a serious drag on the country's attempt as only 78 hydrogen fuel cars are sold to the local governments and public firms.

brk@yna.co.kr
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