Reign of Kia ended just after 3 years in civilian supply of electric cars. In electric car supply business in Seoul Metropolitan City, BMW surpassed Kia as the most preferred electric car. Its aggressive marketing using financial products and having charging infrastructures that are more widely spread played parts in changing competition structure.

According to Seoul Metropolitan City, out of 960 people that participated in public offering of civilian supply of electric cars that ended on the 26th, 424 people applied for BMW’s ‘i3’. After that it was Kia’s ‘Soul EV’ at 177 people, Renault Samsung’s ‘SM3 Z.E.’ at 126 people, Kia’s ‘Ray EV’ at 75 people, and Korea GM’s ‘Spark EV’ at 19 people. There was a 1.7:1 competition rate as there were 960 participants compared to 565 electric cars, which is about half of last year’s rate that was 3:1.

Seoul Metropolitan City will choose final person that will receive subsidy of 13,000 dollars (15 million KRW) from Ministry of Environment, subsidy of 895 dollars to 4,480 dollars (1 million~5 million KRW) from Seoul Metropolitan City, 7 kWh-level on board charger, and installation fee for free by public drawing on the 3rd.

This is the first time when BMW took the top position in all of Korea’s local government civilian supply business. Although its price is 30~40% more expensive than its competitors, BMW became the first to apply lease method. BMW Korea is supporting 50% of car’s price by lease finance for 3 years within Seoul. Including subsidies from the government and local government, one has to only pay about 13,000 dollars (15 million KRW) for 3 years. Afterwards a customer can return his or her car or only pay the remainder excluding lease payments and money that was paid in advance if he or she wants to keep it. It is a marketing strategy that decreases burden of early price while preserving the remaining value of a car.

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For the first time in the industry, it secured its own charging infrastructures. It established its own 120 charging infrastructures for electric cars including 80 from E-marts by working together with Posco ICT in the early part of last year. A BMW customer can freely use infrastructures without paying electricity bills or service fees due to the establishment.

“During the time of Seoul Metropolitan City’s civilian supply of electricity cars that began since the 6th of April for about 12 weeks, about half of participants applied for BMW’s i3. It seems that this is a result of positive reaction due to stable charging system and unconventional lease method.” A person affiliated with Seoul Metropolitan City explained about why so many people liked i3.

Seoul Metropolitan City is supplying 510 electric cars, 35 electric trucks, and 20 50cc two-wheeled vehicles through this public offering.

Staff Reporter Park, Taejoon |

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<■ [Table] Result of application for Seoul Metropolitan City’s public offering of civilian supply of electric cars. Numbers of participants that applied for BMW Korea’s i3 was 424, Kia’s Soul EV at 177, Renault Samsung’s SM3 Z.E. at 126, Kia’s Ray EV at 75, Korea GM’s Spark EV at 19, and Power Plaza’s Labo Peace (remodeled electric car) at 24. (Reference=Seoul Metropolitan City) >