] Tesla will officially launch its operations in South Korea on March 15, opening its first showroom at the Starfield Hanam shopping complex in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province.
While customers cannot actually purchase vehicles at the showroom, visitors can inspect a display model of the company’s S 90D luxury vehicle, which will be the first model introduced to the Korean market. Vehicles can only be purchased through the company’s website, which allows for the customization of each vehicle.
Shortly following its Hanam store opening, Tesla will open its second store in Seoul on Friday in Cheongdam-dong. Tesla is also offering test drives for customers who make reservations in advance.
According to Tesla, its vehicles are expected to hit the road this summer, with deliveries slated to begin in June.
The company also added that it will be accelerating its initial charging station installation plans.
Tesla Korea previously announced it would establish two types of charging stations -- high-speed superchargers and slow-speed destination chargers -- and pledged it would open 25 charging stations nationwide within the year, with at least six stations to be opened by June when its vehicles are slated to hit the road.
The company, however, added that it will be upping its plans and intends to open six or seven supercharging stations within the first half of the year.
The American automaker produces the world’s fastest charging stations with Tesla’s “super charging” capabilities. For the Model S, supercharging stations allow for an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes, or 75 minutes for a full charge.
Tesla has teamed up with Shinsegae Group and will establish charging stations located at Shinsegae Group affiliate chains such as Shinsegae Department stores and E-mart. Superchargers are currently being built in Seoul’s Gangnam and Gangbuk districts, as well as Gyeonggi Province, with the Gangnam Shinsegae Department store expected to become the nation’s largest Tesla charging station.
The company announced it is also planning to set up a supercharging station between Seoul and Busan.
Tesla’s Model S has a driving range of up to 378 kilometers on a single charge -- by far the highest among all electric cars currently available in Korea. The model has a starting price of 121 million won ($105,000), and can reach up to 161 million won with the full-options package.
Following the S 90D, the Korea unit of the US automaker is also expected to introduce additional trims for the luxury S model, as well Model X SUV and Model 3.
By Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org