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Tesla scraps plan to launch energy products in Korea after strange problem with certification, report says

Tesla has reportedly abandoned plans to launch its ‘Tesla Energy’ products in South Korea after failing to obtain certification due to a strange problem.

Back in 2018, Tesla started the process to launch energy products, Powerwall, Powerpack, and now Megapack in Korea.

Now the Korea Times reports that Tesla has abandoned the launch after running into certification issues:

“Electric vehicle (EV) giant Tesla has scrapped its plans to launch energy storage system (ESS) products in Korea due to delays in certification processes for its products and worsening market conditions impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry sources.”

Strangely enough, the report states that Tesla hasn’t been able to pass certification because its energy storage system includes both batteries and power electronics:

“To achieve the goal, the company’s Korean unit acquired a Korea Certification Mark (KC) Certification from the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) for its ESS products in early 2020 but it has failed to win an industry standard authentication from the Korea Battery Industry Association (KBIA), which is another core qualification to do ESS business here.

The company is known to have failed to win the KBIA certification as there is no proper certification system for its products. While Korean firms manufacture each component of ESS products separately and assemble them at the installation locations, Tesla’s ESS product is an all-in-one product that is comprised of battery and power conditioning systems that provide power conversion and energy management.”

The energy storage market in South Korea is currently dominated by local battery manufacturers LG Chem and Samsung SDI.

Globally, Tesla now deploys over 400 MWh of energy storage per quarter and CEO Elon Musk says that along with solar, Tesla’s energy division could become as big or bigger than its automotive division.

Electrek’s Take

Some are jumping to the conclusion that Korea’s local battery manufacturers are involved and trying to protect their business by stopping Tesla from entering the market.

While not impossible, I would find that surprising in this case.

South Korea has been known to use protectionism at times, but it also has a strong auto industry and Tesla has been enjoying success in the market with its electric vehicles having access to strong incentives – even though it did have some issues accessing them at first.

And when it comes to energy products, Tesla has been known to have been using battery cells from both LG Chem and Samsung SDI in its Powerwall and Powerpack.

With all that said, it is strange that they can’t achieve certification simply because Tesla’s energy products are all-in-one solutions.

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