Hello, this is Jae-Ho Sung, University Reporter for LG CNS.
More and more people are paying attention to environmental problems and looking for ways to fight them these days. Local governments as well as metropolitan city governments in Korea have been showing an interest in making cities eco-friendly. Some of them have turned a mountain of garbage into an ecological park or developed a low carbon green city, as a part of their efforts. Along with this trend, ever on, one of LG CNS’s subsidiary companies, has introduced a new paradigm of eco-friendly transportation culture to Korea by starting a car sharing service. Today, I’d like to introduce you to eco-friendly electric cars and how to use a ‘city car’ in Seoul, the capital of Korea.
Features of Electric Cars
Electric cars are eco-friendly vehicles that use electricity as their source of power. Because they run on re-chargeable batteries, they don’t need any fossil fuels which produce one of the biggest kinds of air pollutants, CO2. They are also known to have quieter engines and less chance of explosion after an accident. Let’s take a look at the history of these electric cars and their amazing features.
The Past and the Present of Electric Cars
Did you know that electric cars were invented even before cars that have diesel and gasoline engines? Electric cars were invented in 1830 by Anderson, a businessman in Scotland, and this was three decades before the first internal combustion engine was invented by Renault in 1860. After their invention, internal combustion engines began to attract more customers thanks to the price decrease of gasoline at the time, and then electric cars gradually disappeared from the market. In the 1990s’ electric cars came back into the spotlight when pollution became one of the most important international problems. The rise in demand for electric cars these days is actually affecting international car companies such as Toyota, BMW, KIA, and Hyundai, to work on developing new electric cars.
The most well known electric car is TESLA by Elon Musk, the real life model of Iron Man. Although most electronic cars can’t run over 200 kilometers after being charged once, TESLA runs over 400 kilometers with an acceleration speed of zero to one hundred in four seconds. Korea also has electric cars called online electric cars, using a new technology for batteries to help them run longer. This online electric car gets its energy from a consular system installed below the road through its battery. With this, you can drive a long distance without any high capacity batteries.
( Get more information on Elon Musk here: http://www.lgcnsblog.com/it-trend/geniuses-turning-stories-on-sf-films-into-reality/ )
Meet City Car, the First Electric Car for Mass Production
Public services that allow you to rent and return vehicles with an unmanned system such as ‘Tashu’ in Daejun or ‘Seoul Bike’ in Seoul are pretty popular in Korea. ‘City Car’ is also one of the unmanned car rental systems in Seoul, but it’s a car sharing service where you can rent electric cars. City car has an exceptional accelerating force and is specifically suited for driving in crowded parts of the city thanks to its efficiency in stagnant sections. You’ll be surprised to know how convenient it is to use one as well!
First, you’ll need to find out where the ‘City Zones’ with city cars are parked around your neighborhood and you can get this information easily on the smart phone application. You can see all the city zones in Seoul simply by pushing the city zone section on the screen. You can then choose the closest city zone to you and book a car.
I visited a city zone located at Gangnam Station culture center which is the center of Seoul, the capital of Korea. Electronic cars were kept on the second basement level. I had already checked if they had cars using their app before going and could see they had two city cars being charged at the time. City cars are Ray EVs which are the country’s first electric cars for mass production. You can get SM3s these days as well. I was surprised to see how simple it was to get a city car.
|● How to Use a City Car ●
1. Sign up on the city car website (www.citycar.co.kr) by entering your 16 digit T-Money number. Your license check will be done within 24 hours
2. Book the car either through the internet or mobile service. You can choose your favorite city zone and the rate. There are over 60 city zones in Seoul and the rate includes the gas, insurance, etc.
3. Visit a city zone. Unplug the charger from the electronic car, hang it on the rest, then tag your T-Money on the front of the car.
4. Start the car up. If you see the green light that says ‘Ready,’ you’re ready to go!
If you need to extend your rental hours or need to charge up again, you can simply use the touch pad in the car to take care of such issues. By touching the screen a few times, you can do anything from extending your rental hours to getting the location of the closest charging zone. Another great thing about city cars is that their prices are very reasonable. Unlike the usual rental car services which add extra charges for the rental hours and gas, you are only charged for the hours when you rent a city car. You can adjust your rental hours by half hour increments which cost 3,150 KRW approximately 3 USD. There is also a night rate of 10,000 KRW or around 10 USD from 10pm till 9am the next morning. The City Car service seems a like great deal that can be used worldwide especially for its convenient process and its price range which is lower than taxies.