Renault Samsung Motors, the local unit of French automaker Renault SA, has begun producing its electric sedans on Monday, its chief executive said.
The annual production capacity for its SM3 electric vehicle (EV) will reach up to 4,000 units starting next year at its assembly plant in Busan, said Francois Provost, the CEO of Samsung Renault Motors, at a ceremony in the southeastern port city.
"We are on track with our strategy and plan to become the firm leading" the EV market in Korea, Provost said, noting that his company has supplied 307 units of its sub-midsized EV to the country's southern resort island of Jeju and separately secured contracts for 500 units.
The SM3 EV can travel 135 kilometers on a single charge, according to the carmaker.
Though the price for an SM3 EV is set at 45 million won (US$42,000), with government subsidies for electric car buyers, the price tag comes down to 22 million won, the company said.
As part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the environment ministry and provincial authorities in Jeju have begun providing subsidies worth 15 million won and 8 million won, respectively, to zero-emission car buyers.
The ceremony came two months after GM Korea Co., the local unit of U.S. General Motors Co., unveiled the electric version of the compact Chevrolet Spark.
Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-largest carmaker, has also rolled out its electric car called the Ray and said it plans to introduce the electric version of its Soul box car in the first half of next year.
As of June, a total of 1,146 electric cars were used in the country, mostly by government agencies and public corporations, according to the environment ministry.
South Korea has installed 1,165 charging stations for electric vehicles across the country including 110 quick charge stations, the ministry said.