South Korea EV Sales Exceed 10,000 YTD For First Time Ever – Thanks IONIQ

BEVS available nationwide

NOV 19 2017 BY MARK KANE 20

South Korea has noted strong growth of its plug-in electric vehicle sales this year, fueled by a government tax cut, subsidies and a expanding charging infrastructure. Of course by the introduction of better, more capable EVs on the market.

But mostly, just thanks to the Hyundai IONIQ Electric.

Renault Samsung Motors SM3 Z.E.

In fact, during the first ten months, EV sales in South Korea have exceeded 10,000, which is twice the result for entire previous year!

  • 2010: 61
  • 2014: 1,308
  • 2015: 2,917
  • 2016: 5,099
  • 2017 (YTD): 10,075

By the end of this year, the cumulative number of EVs on South Korean roads will exceed 20,000.

And while the 100%+ gain looks pretty great on paper, the fact that the Hyundai IONIQ makes up over 60% of all sales puts a bit of an *asterisk beside the number.  Had Hyundai not been willing to sacrifice its worldwide customer base and ship the bulk of its production domestically, it would have been another story.

If one takes out the all-electric Hyundai from South Korea’s result, that leaves just 3,947 sales made (about on par with the 2016 number), meaning the wider market/all ‘other’ offerings are net-flat for sales growth in 2017.

Here is the sales rank for 2017 (through October):

  • Hyundai IONIQ Electric – 6,128
  • Renault Samsung SM3 Z.E – 1,569
  • Kia Soul – 1,290
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV – 457
  • Renault Samsung Twizy – 259
  • BMW i3 – 153
  • Tesla Model S – 54
  • Nissan LEAF – 47
  • Kia Ray EV – 38
  • Hyundai IONIQ Plug-In Hybird – 110 (not many compared to 3,514 conventional hybrid IONIQs – but it is a relatively new offering as well)

source: WardsAuto

Categories: Sales

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20 Comments on "South Korea EV Sales Exceed 10,000 YTD For First Time Ever – Thanks IONIQ"

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If you look at it from a different perspective Hyundai has to lead Korea in EV sales…
Hyundai owns just under 50% (not incliding Kia) of the Korean car market and Koreans generaly dont buy foreign autos…
Hyundai is also a giant company that goes far beyond autos for instance they are one of the largeat or largeat ship buildong companies in the world…
It is not hard to imagine that their employes, former employes and realitives of employes refuse to buy competiors products…
And in a country of that size it does matter…


They don’t buy a ioniq because it’s korean.They choose it because it is one of the best electric car on the market!Just ask Bjorg Nylan.


If I remember correctly there’s a massive incentive differential for Korean made vs foreign EVs.


Isn’t that against WTO rules?

Anti-Lord Kelvin

I don’t know about differential incentives but for sure EV cars with big batteries were not enabled to have the same incentives than EV with smaller batteries. For example, it was very difficult to Tesla to sell their because Tesla car’s big batteries. But it seems that this law was deleted in last September, so we should see more Tesla sales their in the future.


Not surprising, Ioniq is an excellent entry at a great price point. Now, extend the range a bit to compete with the new Leaf and bring it to US


It already competes. It has a faster DCFC capability, a (soon-to-be) more useful DCFC connector, and starts a little cheaper than the Leaf. But the real value is in the lease and as long as they keep it up, they won’t be able to even think of meeting demand.


Ironic that Americans bemoan availability of this and other European models- whilst GM refuses to produce a RHD Bolt…


The story seems to have a bias against Hyundai’s decision to ship most of their Ioniq EVs to South Korea, but that seems like a perfectly reasonable decision to me. Tesla is heavily prioritizing the United States in initial Model 3 deliveries as well. No asterisk needed.


Point of order. They are not shipping them TO Korea because they’re already there.

Micke Larsson

Just wanted to add that less than half of the Ioniqs are sold in South Korea.

Europe has gotten more than 6k and another 1k in North America. Even New Zealand has managed to get over 100 cars too so far.

But the production increases can’t come soon enough. As well as the range upgrade.

Micke Larsson

And when including the PHEV it’s even more international.

South Korea
6128 BEV
110 PHEV

7706 BEV
2680 PHEV

A total of 16 624 plugins and a 37,5% domestic share.


PHEV is for most people a poor investment.

BEV is the way to go and most bang for the bucks is at the moment Ionic.

That will change 2019. BEVs at 20.000 will give even larger sales numbers and even more bang for the bucks.


10,000 is not much for a country with 1.8 million units in sales (2016)

even if they surge the last 2 months, that’s way under 1% market share.

But the growth rate is impressive.

Micke Larsson

With the new models and production updates of the current ones coming next year I would not be surprised if they managed 3% plugin sales in 2018.

Get Real

Great car with weak production.

If SK wants to go big like they have with batteries they really need to up their production on BEVs/PHEVs.


Just like GM’s BOLT, at least the IONIQ is sold in more countries than the Bolt.



David Murray

Hopefully they’ll get more battery packs in production soon…


One order of 64kWh Hyundai Kona EV for me, please 🙂