Tesla Working To Expand Presence In Russia (Rumor)

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Tesla is reportedly in the process of securing real estate in Moscow and St. Petersburg for use as new showrooms and service centers, according to recent reports. Presumably, the company is working to establish a presence in the market before the release of the Model 3.

Likely sites for Tesla locations are reportedly the “Atrium” and “Vremena Goda” in Moscow.

This news follows claims from the head of Moscow Tesla Club, Aleksey Eremchuk, that Tesla has definitely decided to enter the market and that it’s awaiting certification by relevant authorities in the country.

It was clear already from Tesla’s Supercharger buildout map that a number of new stations are planned for the country, so Tesla’s entry into Russia isn’t too surprising. Though, it seems Russia might leapfrog Poland in getting a Tesla store.

Teslarati provides some conflicting viewpoints on how the company will fare in the Russian market:

“Anton Gorbatenko, editor-in-chief at AutoTesla, allows that, while ‘there will likely be some demand for Tesla cars, this demand will likely be modest,’ as noted by Russian publication RTB. He attributes that initial cool reception to the difficulties that Tesla drivers in Russia may experience due to extreme climate conditions. He elaborated that driving a Tesla requires having access to a country house heated garage with a charging station and another station during the workday to compensate for commuting miles.”

“’The size of the market for electronic cars is insignificant and falling — in 2016 alone it dropped 28%, to 83 automobiles, of which 50 were registered in Moscow,’ says Alexander Klimov, an expert at the analytical agency Avtostat Info. Klimov relies on data that says, at the beginning of 2017, the number of electric cars in Russia remained below 800 cars, of which about a third are in Moscow.”

“The lack of charging stations, Klimov explains, is the biggest obstacle that Tesla would have to overcome in order to make any real impact in Russia. So, too, would Tesla need to open service centers in Russia. Klimov outlines how Tesla owners now have one of two choices if their imported Tesla needs a repair. Tesla cars ‘must be sent for repairs to Europe. Or experts from Europe can be imported for €5,000 a visit!'”

That’s certainly one point of view. Though, one that I’m skeptical of. The “range issue” seems unlikely to be anything like the problem it’s painted as — those living in eastern Canada and northern Norway with Teslas seem to be doing alright … and the vehicles shouldn’t need a daytime charge except in unusual cases.

Whether the company does well or not there, though, is a different question, as car choice has so much to do with status and identity nowadays, especially at that end of the market.

Tesla is apparently on a roll when it comes to entering new markets. Recently, it launched stores in the UAE, as we scooped a month early while in Abu Dhabi. We also learned there that the Vice Ruler of Dubai has a Tesla and reportedly also a Tesla Supercharger at his home. It seems unlikely that any high-ranking government officials in Russia have a Tesla at this point.

 Photos via Zach Shahan for 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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