SEOUL, Feb. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – U.S. electric car maker Tesla Motors is soon set to launch its vehicles in South Korea, the local government said Thursday, raising both hope and concern for the local electric vehicle market.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the U.S. carmaker is expected to begin selling its Model S sedans here in May.
The U.S. company filed for government certification on the car’s emissions and noise in September.
The transportation ministry said the company has also registered as an auto manufacturer, a prerequisite to selling cars in the country.
Tesla began taking preorders from South Korean consumers late last year but has yet to unveil the local price of its vehicle or its specifications.
Still, many observers said the car may help expand the country’s overall electric car market by bringing diversity and fun.
Already, a number of fully electric cars are sold here, including the Ioniq EV by the country’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co.
However, the observers noted the existing vehicles are mostly focused on efficiency, while the Model S also emphasizes the fun of driving.
The Model S is said to have a 512-kilometer driving range on a full recharge and a top speed of 250 kph. It is also said to have a zero to 100 kph time of only 4.4 seconds, which is comparable to most super cars.
The potentially high price of the car will likely be a hurdle for many consumers here, they noted.
The government earlier said the Tesla Model S has been excluded from its list of green cars eligible for government subsidies due to its failure to meet government standards on recharging.
Electric cars must be fully recharged in less than 10 hours to be eligible for government support. The Model S is said to take more than 12 hours.