South Korea May Change EV Subsidy Rules, Tesla May Benefit

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In a move that may benefit Tesla, the government of South Korea is considering changes to its electric vehicle subsidy rules, ones which would open up subsidy qualification to long-range offerings.

To explain, the country’s current laws deny electric vehicle subsidies to models that take more than 10 hours to charge using a standard electrical outlet — a law that was originally designed to reduce the inconvenience of long charging times, according to Minister of Environment Cho Kyeung-kyu.

These denied subsidies are pretty substantial, up to 22 million won (~$18,250). So, if the rules were changed so as to allow Teslas to qualify, the company’s sales in South Korea would likely increase a fair amount. The Chinese firm BYD would stand to benefit as well, as its e6 model doesn’t qualify for the subsidy either as things stand.

This is particularly notable since South Korea is reported to be one of the top locations anywhere in the world for Tesla Model 3 reservations. While Tesla doesn’t currently maintain a storefront in the country, one is slated to open there sometime in early 2017.

Reuters provides more:

“A ministry official told Reuters that a government-appointed consultancy will submit a proposal on the matter ‘by June, but it could be much earlier. We haven’t decided whether to keep the rule alive, or kill it, or come up with complementary rules,’ the official said. …

“Tesla Vice President Nicolas Villeger last month said the automaker was working with the government to change a ‘unique rule’ that does not reflect advances in battery technology.

“A month earlier, opposition lawmaker Lee Sang-don called the rule an ‘unreasonable non-tariff barrier’ that deprives consumers of incentives to buy long-range EVs. …

“Korea is addressing a worsening smog problem but has been relatively slow to adopt EVs. There are some 4,000 EVs on the road which puts Korea 14th of 16 members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative, a global forum for EV development.”

As some further background, Tesla had planned to open its first location in South Korea this year (a storefront in the Starfield shopping centre east of Seoul), but a sales registration holdup apparently pushed that back to early 2017. In conjunction with this store opening, the company is also working on the installation of Supercharger stations in Seoul, Busan, and Pyeongchang.

Images by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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