Tesla has been eyeing the Russian market for a while now. The company was first planning to deploy Superchargers in the country last year, but it has been pushed to this year based on the 2017 Supercharger expansion plans – pictured above.
Now it seems the automaker is getting ready to also expand in Russia with showrooms in Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to a report from local media.
Sources in the real estate market told Russia’s Kommersant that Tesla is looking for an office space in Moscow and other locations to open service centers and stores in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The company didn’t comment on Kommersant’s story. We also asked a Tesla spokesperson for a comment and we will update if we get an answer.
Service centers in Russia will be welcomed by a lot of Tesla owners who already decided to import the Model S and X despite Tesla not officially offering sales or service in the country.
An estimated 300 people now drive Tesla vehicles in Russia and they joined together to operate their unofficial service center in Moscow until Tesla officially enters the market.
Moscow Tesla Club president Igor Antarov now works for the club full-time to offer services to local owners and promote Tesla in Russia.
In the past, Tesla mentioned that they gauge interest in a market by the willingness of locals to import vehicles without Tesla’s service. For example, the company wrote in a press release when entering New Zealand:
“New Zealand has been chosen as one of the latest expansion markets due to the overwhelming response of Model 3 reservations in the country. This, along with other interest from pioneering owners who have imported Model S vehicles into the market, has highlighted a strong demand for the brand.”
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.
If Kommersant’s report turns out to be true, it should become a lot easier for Russian Tesla owners.