Tesla leads electric car sale increase in South Korea

Tesla South Korea

Tesla is helping to boost electric car sales in South Korea, which is slowly starting to take part in the EV revolution.

The automaker originally had some issues entering the Korean market.

Tesla buyers didn’t have access to the very generous electric vehicle incentive of up to 26 million won (~$21,000 USD) offered by the government.

The reason for the ineligibility was pretty ridiculous for anyone familiar with long-range electric vehicles. For an EV to be eligible for the incentive, the electric car needed to be able to fully charge in under 10 hours using a standard outlet.

It unfairly gives an advantage to vehicles with small battery packs and shorter ranges. Vehicles with larger packs and longer ranges, like Tesla’s, can charge in under 10 hours, but by using level 2 chargers or fast-charging, not a standard outlet. Other EV incentive schemes, like California’s ZEV mandate, include charging speed restrictions, but they are nowhere near as restrictive as this Korean scheme.

Realizing the error in July 2017, the government fixed the rule, and Tesla has been doing a little better in the market, but Model S and Model X remain expensive.

Last year, Tesla launched Model 3 in the market for as low as ~$26,000 with incentives.

The launch of Tesla’s best-selling electric car in the market has been expected to significantly boost electric vehicle adoption in the country.

Now the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association are reporting a 40% increase in EV sales in Q1 2020.

Korea Bizwire reports:

The growth of South Korea’s EV market is being led by Tesla, where sales have jumped from 236 cars in April last year to 4,075 cars this year after releasing the Model 3, a more affordable alternative to the Model S and Model X, in November last year.

Domestic automakers delivered 10,161 electric vehicles between them.

However, this figure includes light commercial electric vehicles like Hyundai’s Porter II Electric, which led sales.

When it comes to passenger electric vehicles, Tesla is leading.

In comparison, Nissan saw its sales go down by 60.6%. BMW only delivered 53 electric cars (-3.6%), Mercedes-Benz delivered 23, and Jaguar delivered 14 (-26.3%).

Local media reports that “Tesla has fully infiltrated the South Korean market.”

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