Korea’s central government, local governments and Korean manufacturers and producers have set in motion a major infusion of hydrogen-fuelled buses for public transportation. The project is commencing with FCEV pilot projects, and calls for the introduction of at least 1,000 FCEV buses by 2022.
A cooperation agreement has been signed which calls for the smooth promotion of the hydrogen bus pilot project in 2019 and the spread of the hydrogen bus in the future. The agreement is designed to promote the nation’s six city hydrogen bus pilot projects scheduled for next year.
The hydrogen bus pilot project will put a total of 30 hydrogen buses into operation: 7 in Seoul, 6 in Gwangju, 3 in Ulsan, 5 in Changwon, 4 in Asan and 5 in Seosan.
Participants at the agreement ceremony included the Minister of Trade, Energy and Industry and the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as well as the Mayor of Seoul, Vice Mayors of Gwangju and Ulsan, Governors of the provinces of Chungnam and Gyeongnam, and mayors of Changwon, Asan and Seosan. They have agreed to collectively promote the hydrogen bus pilot project and spread hydrogen buses in the future.
The ceremony was held in conjunction with the launch of the Seoul Metropolitan City Hydro BUS pilot line (line 405) and the Hydrogen Fuel Station Special Purpose Corporation (SPC).
In addition, the government will continue to identify and improve regulations that hinder the construction of hydrogen buses and charging infrastructure, while also promoting the eco-friendliness of hydrogen cars and the safety of hydrogen filling stations.
A ministry spokesman said, “Vehicles contribute to over 65 percent of air pollution in large cities, with much of it originating from large diesel vehicles,” he continued, “It is urgent to replace diesel buses with eco-friendly ones for the health of our citizens.”
The cost for the fuel-cell bus is expected to be around 830 million won (USD 737m), with the Ministry of Environment and city governments sharing the costs. Hyundai Motor Company, which makes the fuel-cell vehicles, will assume costs of more than 200 million won (USD 178k) for each bus and provide technical support.