[THE INVESTOR] Local Tesla customers will be eligible to receive the government’s subsidies following plans to scrap a strict rule that blocked generous incentives for long-range electric vehicles.
Beginning September, the Ministry of Environment on July 18 said it will abolish the so-called “10-hour charging rule” that determined the incentive eligibility.
As of now, an EV has to be fully charged in less than 10 hours with a 7 kilowatt-hour low-speed charger. As a result, Tesla Model S, its first vehicle to be sold in Korea, failed to receive the hefty incentives that reached up to 26 million won (US$23,278), as it takes at least 13 hours to fully charge with high capacity -- 70 kilowatt/hour or 90 kilowatt/hour -- battery equipped cars.
The ministry, however, added a new rule on the vehicle charging capacity to avoid giving incentives to cars with poor battery quality. Under the new rule, the car has to be capable of supporting more than 32 ampere low-speed charger and 100 ampere for high-speed charger.
“We are planning to speed up the distribution of EVs by modifying the rules to reasonably evaluate a car’s technology and quality,” the ministry said in a statement. “By expanding the EV choice offerings, we will work hard to reach 250,000 units sales by 2020.”
Tesla, which delivered its first car in the country in June, is expected to reap the most benefit through the revision. Its luxury Model S 90D, which is priced at 115.7 million won (US$103,071), can now receive subsidies once the rule is enforced.
That means if Tesla’s first mass-market car Model 3 is launched in Korea around next year, the final price tag will only be around 20 million won after the generous subsidies.
The iconic US EV maker began producing the US$35,000 Model 3 vehicles last week and plans to deliver the first batch on July 28. Industry watchers expect the cars to arrive sometime next year in the Korean market.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)