The South Korean government this week said it will increase subsidies on zero-emission vehicles sold in the country this year, in line with the country's green energy drive, according to local reports.

The ministry of trade, industry and energy said in a statement it would make available KRW1trn (US$905bn) this year to increase subsidies for battery-powered and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The government also plans to expand the refueling networks for these vehicles, including the installation of 31,500 additional EV charging stations and 54 new hydrogen refueling stations.

Subsidies for battery-powered taxis will be increased to KRW10m (US$9,050) from the current KRW8.2m. Other fuel-efficient vehicles such as hybrids will also qualify for additional incentives based on list price, with the lowest cost models qualifying for all the available subsidies while cars costing over KRW90m will not qualify.

The government confirmed it wants to see the number of zero-emission vehicles in use in the country to rise to 1.33m units by 2025, including 1.13m battery-powered cars and 200,000 (FCEVs) – up from 120,000 and 9,500 units respectively at the end of last September.

Sales of environment-friendly vehicle in the country jumped by 54% to exceed 213,000 units in 2020, including EVs, hybrid-power vehicles and (FCEVs), according to industry data, driven by generous government subsidies and an improvement of charging infrastructure.