|Tesla's Model S 90D / Courtesy of Tesla Korea|
Tesla Korea to open 2 stores for EVs
By Kang Seung-woo
Tesla Motors is set to make its Korea debut today, opening its first flagship store showcasing its premium sedans to local customers.
According to Tesla Motors Korea, the local subsidiary of the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, Tuesday, its first showroom will open at Starfield Hanam, a shopping mall located in Gyeonggi Province. In addition, the Elon Musk-owned company plans to open its second store in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, Friday.
Visitors can see Tesla's Model S 90D, the lone model available to Korean consumers at this point, at the store. Those who placed pre-orders for the vehicle can test-drive it. All purchases are made online where customers can customize their own vehicles.
The EV is priced at 121 million won ($105,000), but could be as high as 161 million won depending on add-ons.
With the Model S 90D set to hit the local market after winning government certification, Tesla plans to expand its offering by receiving additional certification for its other models, including other trim levels for the Model S and the Model X SUV.
The Ministry of Environment certified in February that the Tesla Model S 90D has a range of 378 kilometers when fully charged - by far the widest among all electric cars currently available. It mounts a single-speed electric motor along with a 90kWh lithium-ion battery that generates a maximum of 417 horsepower.
One downside is that S model customers are not expected to benefit from subsidies of 12 million won to 19 million won offered by the environment ministry and provincial governments for EVs as the sedan failed to meet the requirements.
A vehicle should take less than 10 hours to charge on a 7 kilowatt-hour low-speed charger. It takes around 13 hours to fully charge the S 90D's battery.
Model S variants - 60D, 75D and 100D - are also expected to arrive here within the first half of the year, but the Model X is expected to get approval from the government around the end of the year, indicating that Korean motorists can purchase the SUV model next year.
As actual deliveries are expected to begin in June, Tesla is accelerating its efforts to establish charging infrastructure across the nation where such facilities are not sufficient.
The California-based firm initially planned to set up five supercharger stations by this June and it recently decided to add a few more later this year.
At a fast-charging station, it takes 40 to 60 minutes to fully charge a Tesla vehicle.
Along with the superchargers, Tesla, teaming up with Shinsegae Group, will build 30 slow-speed destination chargers inside the retail giant's affiliate chains, including Shinsegae Department Stores, E-marts and premium outlets.