There are some 200 expressway service areas that have restaurants, bathrooms, a pharmacy, and a gas station. A service area has an average of two chargers. An EV driver has to wait for an average of about 20 minutes. About 872,000 people used EV chargers in expressway service areas in 2021.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will work with Korea Expressway Corporation, a public company that operates toll roads, to build 730 chargers at expressway service stops by the end of 2021 and about 300 more in 2022. The number of hydrogen fuel stations at expressway service stops will go up to 52 by 2023 from the current 12.
"We will continue to expand EV and hydrogen charging infrastructure to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050," Hwang Sung-kyu, a vice transport minister, said in a statement on December 6. Due to subsidies and low operation fees compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, the number of EVs soared from 2,775 in 2014 to 211,677 as of October 2021. There are 18,068 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in operation.
Service areas will be turned into renewable energy-based self-sufficient facilities with the construction of solar energy power plants at idle spaces. Solar power plants run by Korea Expressway Corporation have a generation capacity of 100 megawatts. The expressway operator will build three hydrogen fuel power plants with a total capacity of 48 megawatts at idle spaces by 2025.
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