It really pays to go green in South Korea. The home country of Hyundai and Kia will offer up to 19 million won in subsidies to those who buy an electric car this year, Pulse reported. That’s the equivalent of RM69,818. If you’re brave enough to go hydrogen and buy a fuel cell vehicle, up to 37.5 million won (RM137,691) in subsidies can be had.

The move is part of the country’s drive to have more eco-friendly cars on the road, which in turn is part of the government’s Green New Deal initiative. Launched in July, the aim is to nurture renewable energy, green infrastructure, and green industrial sectors as the country’s new growth engines, as well as to address air and water pollution.

The republic’s government said it aims to add 136,000 electric and hydrogen vehicles this year by increasing its subsidy pool to to 1.02 trillion won (RM3.74 billion) for 121,000 EVs, and to 365.5 billion won (RM1.34 billion) for 15,000 FCEVs. Those targets are up by 21.4% and 49.2% from a year ago, respectively.

This year’s revised subsidy programme favours longer driving range per charge – higher range, higher subsidy amount. It also takes into account the price of the EV/FCEV – those priced between 60 million won and 90 million won (RM220,312 to RM330,468) will receive only 50% of the subsidy, while models priced over 90 million won such as the Tesla Model S will receive no subsidy. Total subsidy is a combination of central and local government funds.

Top examples after factoring in the range/price T&Cs are the Hyundai Kona Electric (up to 484 km with the latest facelift) and Kia Niro, followed by the Tesla Model 3 in the EV segment. Buyers of the Hyundai Nexo SUV will get the full 37.5 million won FCEV subsidy.

Besides private vehicles, South Korean subsidies for electric taxis, buses and trucks will also be upped to benefit small business owners. On the infrastructure front, the government will install 31,500 electric chargers and build 54 hydrogen stations across the country this year.

Would you go electric if such an incentive is offered in Malaysia? The latest Nissan Leaf is priced at a relatively attractive RM189k, but there have been few takers. Hyundai and Kia are big EV players at home and in Europe, but with such low demand for EVs here – and no special government scheme – there’s really not much incentive for them to bring the battery-powered cars in.