South Korean capital Seoul is to install 100 electric vehicle chargers by the end of this year, the metropolitan government confirmed July 23.
The city, which is also trialling green buses and taxis, launched a partnership with the private sector to roll out the chargers in supermarkets as well as city government district offices.
Lotte Mart, E-Mart, Home Plus and Bokwang Family Mart stores will all install charging devices for their customers, while the city's 25 district offices will install chargers capable of recharging two vehicles at a time.
The chargers take between five and seven hours to recharge vehicles and will be free until the end of the year, after which fees will be charged using the city's existing metropolitan transportation card.
Director Lee In Keun of the Air Quality Management Division at the Seoul Metropolitan government said that the system would be able to "compete with EV charging infrastructure established in other advanced cities."
To ensure that there are some cars on the road to use the new infrastructure, the government has developed five highway-speed electric vehicles, which will be used to monitor air pollution and are built using technologies developed in Korea.
As several major automakers plan releases of electric vehicles later this year, city authorities around the world have been scrabbling to ensure that the EV charging infrastructure is present.
A recent report from industry analyst Pike Research suggested that 4.7 million EV charging points will be installed worldwide by 2015, boosted by the entrance of mainstream manufacturers such as General Electric, Panasonic, Samsung and Siemens into the space.
General Electric unveiled its new residential and commercial charging point, the WattStation, only last week.
However, although the US - and more specifically California - currently leads in EV infrastructure, Pike believes that the Asia Pacific region will sell the most EV chargers, thanks to strong government incentives and directives.Reuse content