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State funds will help Hyundai develop electric vehicles

South Korea will produce mid-size electric cars from 2014, three years earlier than its original schedule, in a state-funded project led by Hyundai Motor.

South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it has selected a consortium led by Hyundai to develop a car that can travel more than 200 kilometres (124 miles) on a single charge.

The consortium will receive about 70 billion won ($64.6 million) in state money, it said.

The project will help South Korea become one of the world's top three makers in the increasingly competitive electric auto market, the ministry said in a statement.

South Korea earlier sought to complete development of mid-size electric vehicles in 2017 but competition prompted it to revise its schedule.

Hyundai in September unveiled South Korea's first full-speed electric car, the BlueOn, which can travel 140 kilometres on a single charge.

It plans to produce 2,500 BlueOns by the end of next year.

Hyundai's affiliate Kia Motors also plans to introduce a compact electric vehicle this year.

The Hyundai consortium is also in charge of developing new batteries which will help cut the price of electric vehicles and improve their performance.
 

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