Soul EV purchase incentives in Seoul, South Korea

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Active member
Dec 10, 2013
Under the “2014 Civilian Supply of Electric Cars Program” the city government of Seoul sets aside 20 million won (over $18,400) to offer to residents who buy an EV form participating manufacturers.

Corporate and organizational buyers can get another 7 million won (roughly $6,400) if they install a charging point.

That's a total of 27 million won in incentives - on a starting price of 42 million won, that's more than a 50% incentive!

Full article here:
More than half the electric vehicles sold in South Korea are on Jeju island.
"Jeju province is aiming to be carbon-free by 2030 and make all of its 370,000 vehicles electric. This year the environment ministry will distribute 1,515 EVs on the island, each coming with 22 million won subsidies and charging equipment installation." see

2014 EV sales in South Korea = 1,183
Kia Soul EV – 414
Renault Samsung SM3 – 309 (basically the Fluence ZE rebadged)
Kia Ray EV – 202
BMW i 3 – 170
Chevrolet S park EV – 70
Nissan L EAF – 16

Out of the total 1,183 for the whole country, 650 EVs were sold on Jeju Island.
Surprise Win for BMW in Seoul.
In Jeju over 50% of the 1515 cars distributed earlier this year were Soul EV. No Surprise.
But in Seoul where the government is distributing 565 cars this fall BMW stormed to the front.
The i 3 will sell 43% This is quite a surprise.
Also surprising is the big fall in numbers applying for cars.
Only 960 this year in a city of 10 million.
In Jeju 5000 applied out of a population of 500,000
Still very high subsidies available for electric cars in South Korea but public interest and sales seem to be waning.

In 2015 the full quota of 3025 sales was reached but only just. Thousands of people who had applied for the subsidy later dropped out.


2015 EV sales in South Korea = 3,025
Kia Soul EV – 1,116
Renault Samsung SM3 – 1,093
Kia Ray EV – 198
BMW i 3 – 367
Chevrolet S park EV – 151
Nissan L eaf – 100
In 2016 there are 8000 cars available with subsidy. No more lottery, there are far more cars available than customers.

The data for the first nine months of the year. 2279 sales


Hyundai I oniq Electric - 1131
Kia Soul EV – 477
Renault Samsung SM3 – 355
Kia Ray EV – 66
BMW i 3 – 100
Chevrolet S park EV – 99
Nissan L eaf – 47

see -

And to show just how bad the sales of EVs are in Korea

I understand, now, why the ioniq is made = replace the old Renault Samsung SM3 (Fluenze ZE).
SoulEV2016 said:
I understand, now, why the i oniq is made = replace the old Renault Samsung SM3 (Fluenze ZE).
Actually not at all.
The I oniq was designed to compete with the Prius.

The I oniq Electric appeals to a very different demographic than the Renault Samsung SM3.
The I oniq Electric is being bought by tech-savvy men in their 30s. (The Soul EV is popular with women in their 30s)
For an analysis of the demographic see -
The Renault Samsung SM3 is either being bought by middle-aged women or elderly male taxi drivers.

The big difference for the SM3 customers in these cars is that the SM3 can comfortably seat 4 adults. The I oniq can't.
Soon after many SM3 drivers complain about lack of range when driving fast, or in the winter.
This negativity seems to have tarred all EVs here.


From Promoting electric vehicles in Korea

In Jeju, the total cost of owning a Soul EV ($18,720) is 55% lower than the total cost if it was taxed regularly, and 18% cheaper than the gasoline Soul. As shown in the figure below, purchasing and operating a Soul EV is much cheaper in Jeju than in California. The strong government support for EV development attempts to compensate for the price disadvantages of BEVs.



The Cumulative total of EVs on the road in Jeju as of Sep 2016 was 3608. Still more than 50% of all EVs in Korea ~6500.
The 6000 I_oniq Electric to be bought as rental cars will approximately double the EV count.

These numbers for Jeju must be a few months earlier. -
Kia Soul EV 1133, (31.4 %)
Renault Samsung sm3 ZE 1066, (29.55 %)
Hyundai I_oniq Electric 548, (15.19 %)
Kia Ray 312, (8.65 %),
BMW i_3 287, (7.95%)
Nissan L_eaf 149, (4.13 %)


November sales data from -
After a fairly dismal year for EV sales in Korea, sales have picked up a bit in the late two months.
The Kia Soul EV and Samsung SM3 have been selling off old inventory at greatly reduced prices.
The I_oniq EV got a boost from a 6,000 car order from the rental companies.

Totals for the year are now - all EVs 4270
Hyundai I_ONIQ Electric - 2565
Kia Soul EV –708
Renault Samsung SM3 – 533


In November it looks like all the batch of 1000 I oniq Electric rental cars went to Jeju.



The Cumulative total of EVs on the road in Jeju as of End 2016 was 6,521. Now more than 60% of all EVs in Korea 10,855.
The last 3 months saw 3,000 new EVs on the island. Almost all rental cars.
And they are not all I_oniq EVs


The final 2016 sales figures
Here in Korea EV sales in 2017 were dominated by the the I oniq Electric. For the first six months a huge backlog of orders built up because Hyundai were unable to produce in any quantity. The problem seems to have been with the battery suppliers. LG Chem was not able to ramp up battery production, because they couldn't get the parts they needed. It all stems from the fact that Hyundai did not anticipate (or more realistically did not want) the demand and did not pre-order from suppliers.

The I oniq Electric took over 60% of the market. - Here's the top 3 as of November.
Graphic from -


Here's some news about the situation in 2018 - EV subsidy registrations begin amid concerns of shortage
Here's a chart showing the EVs currently available in Korea, and the subsidies they receive.
I have highlighted the MY2018 Soul EV in red and the I oniq Electric in blue.

The two versions of the MY2018 Soul EV sold here are the Standard and Economy.
One of the differences is that the Economy version lacks the heat pump.
This causes a 15km reduction in range when the temperature is -7C.

The comparison for the I oniq Electric is with and without the winter package.
The winter package includes the heat pump.
This causes a 7km increase in range when the temperature is -7C.

I think having the winter range listed for both versions is really useful for buyers in deciding whether to spend the extra on the winter package.

The range is lab tested like this. But I don't think they do a charging test. Hence we don't get to see the benefit of the battery heater.