Importing a vehicle in a country where it’s not officially available can always offer some challenges, but arguably even more so when it comes to importing a Tesla. Not only it can be difficult to service or charge the cars without service centers or a Supercharger network, but when Tesla enters a new market, it also makes deals with local broadband companies to give an internet access to its fleet, which supports some of its unique features like over-the-air updates and the Autopilot.
Therefore, you need some motivated people to import a Tesla. We have seen a few examples around the world in the past few years, but never with the scale of what is going on in Russia at the moment. Around 300 people now drive Tesla vehicles in Russia and they joined together in order to overcome some of the limitations described above.
During a presentation at TMC Connect earlier this year, Moscow Tesla Club president Igor Antarov said that he now works for the club full-time and they invested in their own independent service center to support to local Tesla owners.
They offer all the maintenance services as well as repairs and they can install a SIM-card to get an internet access in the vehicle.
Antarov explained that the only other option would have been to ship the vehicles to another European country (Finland and Germany are the closest) to get service – at least until Tesla officially enters the market and offer service. In the meantime, they went ahead and set up shop in Moscow:
Tesla had originally planned to enter the Russian market in 2016 as evidenced by the planned expansion of its Supercharger network in the country by the end of 2016, but those plans have apparently been pushed, presumably in favor of expansions in the automaker’s current markets.
Nonetheless, the Moscow Tesla Club plans to grow on its own. As described by Antarov, they are organizing events to promote Tesla in the country and grow their club.
They also have a popular Youtube channel. We’ve shared some of their videos in the past, like when one of their owners completely changed the interior of his Model S to a BMW 6-series’.
Let us know in the comment section below if you know of any other country with a strong Tesla presence despite Tesla not officially selling its cars in the country.
Here’s Antarov’s presentation at the TMC Connect in July: