I know quite a few people who would like a private showing of the Tesla Model 3 with Elon Musk and it looks like that’s exactly what South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Joo Hyung-hwan, got earlier this week when he visited Tesla’s Design Studio in Los Angeles (pictured top left).
Tesla started to expand in South Korea earlier this year. Back in March, the company started taking reservations for the Model 3 and cited the “great interest” for the vehicle in the country as a reason to enter the market ahead of its introduction.
The California-based automaker has since started taking orders for both the Model S and X in the country and announced a partnership to open its first store and a network of charging stations.
Tesla is about to open its first store at South Korea’s new Starfield Hanam mall, but while Tesla’s retail presence in the country is new, the company has been doing business there for a long time. The company is reportedly working with over 30 suppliers from South Korea.
Now according to Business Korea, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy met Musk on Monday to talk him into joining Korea’s Automotive Convergence Alliance. He said:
“The Korean government helps automakers to expand convergence with other industries through the Automotive Convergence Alliance. We hope that Tesla will consider joining the alliance as the company has tapped into the Korean market.”
Musk was “willing to participate” according to the publication. He reportedly said:
“The company has a great working relationship with Korean firms now and it can create various business models by expanding the partnerships in the future.”
Tesla’s main battery partner is Japan-based Panasonic, but the company has also been working with Korean battery makers Samsung and LG Chem over the past year. Tesla took a few shipments of battery cells from Samsung, but we are told they are not for used in Tesla’s electric vehicles. It was also confirmed that LG was chosen to supply battery cells for Tesla’s Roadster 3.0 battery upgrade program.
Some important Korean suppliers are also reportedly directly involved in Tesla’s Model 3 program. It was reported that LG will supply the 15-inch touchscreen display in the Model 3 and Hankook is reportedly developing new tires especially for the vehicle.