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Korea plans thousands of fast EV charging at gas stations, now 76 and counting

There will come a day when ultra-fast, electric-vehicle charging stations are as ubiquitous as gas stations. South Korea is making progress toward that goal with thousands on the roadmap and at least 76 gas stations already equipped for rapid EV pit stops.

Hyundai is reportedly now renovating mega-sized gas stations into EV charging stations. According to Aju Daily, an Asian business publication, Hyundai plans to open an EV charging station with eight ultra-fast chargers in a remodeled gas station in eastern Seoul later this year.

Hyundai told Electrek that the company is “considering gas stations as one of several outlet options for fast chargers.” The automaker is considering other types of locations as well.

In December, Hyundai forged a partnership with Korea Expressway Corp., South Korea’s expressway operator, to establish a network of fast-charging stations in 11 expressway service stops by the end of 2020.

We asked Hyundai if it will manage its own charging network, a strategy pioneered by Tesla with its Supercharger network. The Korean automaker responded:

Hyundai Motor is striving to expand its EV charging capacity through diverse channels, but the details of our plan have not been finalized yet.

EV charging at gas station in Korea

Last year, Hyundai Oilbank, along with GS Caltex and SK Innovation, formed an agreement to install and operate at EV charging at dozens of gas stations throughout the country.

Following the pilot project, they plan to apply the business model to Hyundai Oilbank’s approximately 2,300 gas stations nationwide, according to the Korea Herald. The oil refiner also plans to install chargers at large retail stores, cafes, and drive-thrus.

SK Energy, an oil refining unit of SK Innovation, installed at least 12 chargers at its gas stations nationwide. It purportedly plans to deploy fast-charging at its 3,570 gas stations and 3,500 post offices in collaboration with state-run Korea Post.

GS Caltex launched EV charging at its 7 gas stations in Seoul.

EV charging at gas station in Korea

Hyundai informed us that Seoul alone already has 47 gas stations with fast charging. There is also a handful in Daegu and Busan. The locations are primarily run by energy companies, including GS Caltex, SK Energy, and SK Networks.

Hyundai currently has two ultra-fast 350-kW chargers installed at the Hyundai Motorstudio, a visitor center. A Hyundai spokesperson said:

EV chargers that will be installed in the future will have similar charging capabilities. We plan to install several chargers at each charging station.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors jointly secured a 20 percent stake in Ionity, a German provider of charging infrastructure. So the companies will likely rely on Ionity for managing charging services. Ionity was founded by BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen Group, and Ford.

Meanwhile, in the US, the use of gas stations for EV fast charging is in its infancy. There are currently several DC fast-charging stations at US stations operated by Chevron, Circle K, Love’s, Sheetz, and WaWa.

Total, BP, and Shell are among the oil companies making major investments in EV charging.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.