Tesla Model 3 fever hits South Korea as crowds flock stores to see the ~$26.5k EV

The Tesla Model 3 draws crowds in South Korea. (Credit: Tesla, Tae Koan, Ko/Twitter)

The Tesla Model 3 fever appears to have hit South Korea. Just days after the electric car maker opened orders of the electric sedan, large crowds of enthusiasts and potential electric car buyers have started heading to South Korean Tesla stores to check out the disruptive vehicle. 

Images of long lines of people waiting to see the electric sedan were recently shared by South Korean Tesla community members. One of these depicted a crowd of interested people lining up outside a Tesla store to check out the vehicle. The scene in South Korea’s outlets invoke images of the Model 3’s earlier days, when the Model 3 was still only making its way across the US and in select international markets. 

A key reason behind South Korea’s notable interest in the Model 3 may lie in the vehicle’s price and its related subsidies from the local and national governments. Tesla lists the Model 3 Standard Range Plus with a starting price of 52 million won (about $43,000) for South Korea, but thanks to an EV subsidy of 9 million won (about $7,400) from the national government and up to 11 million won (about $9,100) from some select provincial governments, the electric sedan could start as low as 32 million won (around $26,500) for its base trim. 

This price will allow Tesla to tap into South Korea’s mainstream EV market, which, similar to other Asian countries such as China, is on the rise. Amidst competition from other compelling, affordable EVs from local manufacturers such as Hyundai and Kia, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus and its ~$26,500 adjusted starting price could prove to be a bang-for-the-buck way for EV buyers to get into the Tesla ecosystem

Tesla has been in South Korea since 2017, though the company’s previous vehicles, the Model S and Model X, were both positioned as premium electric cars that compete with high-priced luxury vehicles from veteran brands. The flagship sedan and SUV start at 111 million won (about $91,500) and 119 million won (around $98,000) before incentives in South Korea, which puts them out of reach for mainstream car buyers. Tesla seems intent on changing this with the Model 3. 

Tesla formally opened orders for the Model 3 in South Korea this Tuesday, and recent reports have suggested that vehicle deliveries will commence as early as the fourth quarter of 2019. Once delivered, Tesla Model 3 owners in the country, apart from being able to charge their vehicles from the comfort of their homes, will be able to charge their electric sedan using one of the 22 Superchargers and 172 Level 2 chargers that have been installed by the company to date.

"Simon Alvarez : @https://twitter.com/ResidentSponge Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.."
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