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Tesla applies for certification in Korea as it prepares for launch

All News 09:09 September 29, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors filed for certifications on emissions and noise from South Korea's environment ministry earlier this week, a step toward its official launch in the country, industry officials said Thursday.

The certification request was made on Tuesday for the 90D version of the Model S sedans, according to the officials. Because they are EVs, emissions certification is unnecessary, cutting the process time considerably, they said.

Tesla's Model S (Yonhap file photo)

The real hurdles will probably be with the transport ministry with whom it must register as a manufacturer. The registration requires that the automaker has the facilities and technicians set up locally to provide after-sale services. Unlike other foreign automakers who meet the requirement by conducting sales through dealerships, Tesla plans to make sales through its U.S. headquarters instead. Officials said the transport ministry has asked Tesla to solve the problem.

For consumers, whether Tesla's EVs qualify for government subsidies will likely be an issue. Local law limits EV subsidies to vehicles that can be fully charged within 10 hours, a feature not in Tesla's cars. The U.S. automaker has not yet applied for subsidy payments, officials said.

The Model S 90 D is said to go 473 kilometers on a single charge and is priced at approximately US$90,000. The sales price in Korea has not yet been mentioned.

Tesla is due to open its first showroom in South Korea at Starfield Hanam, a mega shopping mall operated by the Shinsegae Group east of Seoul, within this year. It also plans to have 25 charging facilities within the first half of next year at different retailers operated by the Shinsegae Group.

Visitors to Starfield Hanam, a shopping mall east of Seoul, walk past an ad by Tesla on Sept. 5, 2016. The U.S. electric vehicle maker will open its first showroom in Korea at the mall. (Yonhap)

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