Market share of electric vehicles in South Korea 2013-2018

Electric cars, here consisting of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), accounted for around 2.2 percent of the South Korean automobile market in 2018. The Korean government aims to increase the share of electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles in the sales volume of new vehicles to 33 percent by 2030.

Green Vehicles initiative by the government

There were more than 600 thousand green vehicles among the approximately 23.7 million automobiles registered with the authorities in Korea in 2019, an increase since 2013. Both domestic and imported car brands have seen sales of green vehicles grow over the past several years. The government’s Green Car initiative and changing public perception of environmental issues are driving the transition to environmentally friendly automobiles. Furthermore, the particulate matter coming from China and polluting Korean skies is causing greater public concern for the environment. Subsequently, the Korean government is implementing policies to stimulate the domestic market for green vehicles. The government is also financing the construction of electric charging and hydrogen refueling stations, which are in need due to the growing number of electric and hydrogen cars in Korea.

Challenges with green vehicle purchase

Unfortunately, the electric and hydrogen vehicles which are true green vehicles are quite expensive when compared to traditional automobiles. In fact, high prices were the main reason for South Korean consumers to hesitate when considering the purchase of an electric car. As such, the government is supporing to offset the costs of purchasing green vehicles with subsidies. Recently, the highest amount of one-time purchase subsidy for an electric vehicle was paid for a few models including Hyundai's Kona and Kia's Niro. The standards for subsidies have also improved significantly over time. Instead of focusing on just battery capacity, the maximum driving distance, energy efficiency, low-temperature performance, and other factors are taken into consideration. Not just passenger cars, but commercial trucks and buses, and two- and three-wheel vehicles are also receiving subsidies.

Market share of electric vehicles in South Korea from 2013 to 2018

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Release date



South Korea

Survey time period

2012 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Electric car here refers to battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

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Statistics on "Electric vehicles in South Korea"

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