(LEAD) Audi Korea to fill 35 pct of lineup with EVs by 2030
(ATTN: ADDS number of EV chargers in 9th para)
HONGCHEON, South Korea, July 17 (Yonhap) -- Audi Korea said it plans to launch more all-electric vehicles to fill 35 percent of its lineup with the emission-free models by 2030 amid rising demand for environment friendly cars.
Early this month, the German carmaker launched the e-tron 55 quattro sport utility vehicle, its first fully electric model, in South Korea following rollouts in Germany, the United States and China last year.
"The switch from combustion engines to electric vehicles is coming worldwide, not just in Korea. I believe that emission-free driving is a part of sustainability, like a focus of automotive companies," Audi Executive Director Jeff Mannering in charge of South Korean operations told reporters after a media test drive event held Monday.
In the coming months, a lot of companies will start to introduce more electric vehicles in global markets, and Audi will do so as well, he said.
Audi currently sells the e-tron Sportback SUV in the U.S. and unveiled the Q4 e-tron SUV concept this month with an aim to mass-produce the model next year. It also unveiled the prototype of the e-tron S high-performance SUV in February.
The company said it is considering introducing the new e-tron models in the Korean market to take advantage of growing local appetite for EVs and improvements in the charging infrastructure.
Mannering said the rapidly increasing number of charging stations will enable the carmaker to launch more pure electric cars here.
"One of the biggest challenges for EVs in every country in the world is how do I charge my EV," said Mannering. "Korea is probably world leader in public charging infrastructure and that's probably why now is the right time for us to introduce the car because you only have to drive 30 kilometers to the next charging station."
A total of 20,947 chargers, including 7,243 fast chargers, were available across the country as of June 30, according to the transport ministry. The government aims to increase the number of fast chargers to 10,000 by 2022.
Audi Korea's aggressive EV push is in line with Audi AG's long-term business plan to increase its proportion of electrified vehicles, including plug-in hybrid models, to 33 percent by 2025. Audi AG aims to launch more than 20 kinds of electrified models globally by 2025 to sell over 800,000 units a year.
The current global situation reinforces the importance of sustainability economically, socially and environmentally. And emission-free drive systems have their part to play, Mannering said.
The e-tron 55 quattro SUV comes with a higher-capacity 95-kWh battery pack, and its two electric motors fitted to each axle on the front and rear can generate a combined 360 horsepower.
The company said it will deliver a three-year warranty for the e-tron, with the guarantee period for the battery reaching eight years.
It can travel up to 307 kilometers on a single charge and accelerate from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 6.6 seconds. The zero-emission SUV is available for 117 million won (US$98,000).
Audi Volkswagen Korea sells four brands -- Audi, Volkswagen, Lamborghini and Bentley -- in Asia's fourth-biggest economy.
Its overall sales from January to June more than quadrupled to 17,751 vehicles of the four brands from 4,442 units in the year-ago period, according to data from the Korean Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
Sales of Audi badge vehicles jumped nearly fourfold to 10,071 units from 2,560 during the same period, KAIDA said.
Audi Volkswagen Group resumed sales in South Korea in early 2018 after suspending normal operations in 2016 following an emissions cheating scandal that hurt consumer confidence in the brand.
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