Tesla launched in South Korea earlier this year despite being at a disadvantage against other electric vehicles. Tesla buyers don’t have access to the very generous electric vehicle incentive of up to 26 million won (~$23,000) offered by the government.
Now they have announced that they are removing the restriction that made Tesla’s vehicles ineligible.
The reason for the ineligibility is pretty ridiculous for anyone familiar with long-range electric vehicles. For an EV to be eligible forthe incentive, the electric car needs 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 – 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.
South Korea’s The Investor is now reporting that the Ministry of Environment announced this week the imminent abolishment of the so-called “10-hour charging rule” – making Tesla’s vehicles eligible.
The government instead announced the implementation of a much more reasonable threshold of supporting 32 amp level 2 charging and 100 amp DC fast-charging. That way, the charging rules actually incentivize decent charging standards instead of simply discouraging buying EVs with larger battery packs.
The only problem for Tesla is the new rule is apparently only going into effect in September, which could result in buyers holding off on buying Tesla vehicles for the next month or so.
Last year, Tesla secured a partnership with the Shinsegae Group to deploy charging stations and open a store at their new Starfield Hanam mall.
It was supposed to open in December 2016, but they were waiting on government certification, which they obtained in February and it officially opened in March.
Company officials have referred to South Korea has “an important market” for them in the past.