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Tesla launches Model 3 in South Korea for as low as ~$26,000 with incentives

Tesla has officially made the Model 3 available in South Korea and the vehicle could prove really popular thanks to large incentives bringing the price down to as low as ~$26,000.

The automaker originally had some issues entering the Korean market.

Tesla buyers didn’t have access to the very generous electric vehicle incentive of up to 26 million won (~$21,000 USD) offered by the government.

The reason for the ineligibility was pretty ridiculous for anyone familiar with long-range electric vehicles. For an EV to be eligible for the incentive, the electric car needed to be able to fully charge in under 10 hours using a standard outlet.

It unfairly gives an advantage to vehicles with small battery packs and shorter ranges. Vehicles with larger packs and longer ranges, like Tesla’s, can charge in under 10 hours, but by using level 2 chargers or fast-charging, not a standard outlet. Other EV incentive schemes, like California’s ZEV mandate, include charging speed restrictions, but they are nowhere near as restrictive as this Korean scheme.

Realizing the error back in July 2017, the government fixed the rule and Tesla has been doing a little better in the market, but Model S and Model X remain expensive.

With the Model 3, the incentives will make a much bigger difference.

A Tesla spokesperson told the Korea Times that they started taking orders for Model 3 in the market this year:

“We are receiving orders for the Model 3 through the company’s webpage in Korea,”

The Model 3 starts at 52 million won (~$43,000 USD) in the country, but with the central government’s subsidy worth 9 million won and even bigger provincial subsidies, the Model 3 could start at less than 32 million won (~$26,000 USD) with incentives.

South Korea is a relatively big automotive market with over 1 million passenger cars sold per year, but it is dominated by domestic brands like Hyundai and Kia.

Local subsidies have greatly accelerated EV sales in the country last year and with the launch of new models, like Tesla’s Model 3, EV adoption is expected to be even greater in South Korea this year.

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