Seoul is inviting taxi owners to a program, which will give grants for the purchase of new EV taxies. The program will fund 700 units of electric taxies. Anyone who has a taxi license in Seoul can apply to the program, and the applications will be served on a first-come-first-served basis until the fund runs out.
In 2019, the city had designated only four cars eligible for a similar subsidy program: Hyundai’s Kona and Ioniq, and Kia’s Soul and Niro. To promote competition among car manufacturers as well as giving taxi owners more wide options, the list now contains 19 cars from 7 companies, which are practically all cars eligible for “taxi business and incentives from the Ministry of Environment.”
Besides Hyundai and Kia, the Ministry is giving incentives to passenger cars from Renault Samsung Motors (SM3 Z.E), GM Korea (Bolt), Nissan (LEAF), Tesla, and Jaguar Land Rover (I-PACE). Any car that the Ministry later designates as grant-eligible would be also eligible for Seoul’s latest EV taxi incentive without further notification.
With the program, the purchase of a new EV for the use of taxi business can benefit up to KRW 18.2 million, compared to up to KRW 12.7 million subsidy for a non-taxi purchase. The program started on April 6, and will remain applicable by December 4, 2020.
To attract more taxi owners into the EV realm, the city is giving EV taxi owners a priority to be assigned in a preferred ‘라’ shift, which is allowed to run on Friday, a day with high passenger demands.
Seoul explained that replacing taxies with EVs have a significant environmental impact, as the distance of daily trip of each taxi is quite long (avg 220km for private taxies; 400km for company taxies).