The Korea Times reports that Tesla Motors has filed incorporation papers with the government of Korea and will open an office in the Gangnam district south of Seoul. The original officers for Tesla Korea Limited are Todd Maron, currently general counsel at Tesla Motors, and Susan Repo, director at Tesla Financial Services. The creation of the new company was formally announced by the Korea Supreme Court on December 19.
In November, Tesla’s CTO JB Straubel told a conference in Seoul that the company sees great potential in the Korean market but declined to speculate about when it might begin selling its cars there. “I can’t give a specific answer about when we will exactly start selling vehicles in Korea but this is a market that we are committed to and we think there is great potential here,” he said.
Part of the hesitancy is that Tesla wants to carefully consider how and where it expands its business. “We don’t want to damage the brand by growing too quickly and not having enough infrastructure, service and support for our customers,” Straubel said.
Charging infrastructure, or rather the lack of it, is a major concern in Korea. Tesla would need to embark on a major campaign to construct Supercharger locations within the country or partner with local providers, as it has done in China.
Kim Pil-soo, an automotive engineering professor at Daelim University, told Korea Times that Tesla could emerge as a strong player in the Korean market. “Tesla has both premium and low cost product lines. Its quality is one of the highest in the electric vehicle market. At a time when local customers are increasingly fond of imported vehicles, if Tesla cars hit local showrooms, its repercussion on the local automotive market will not be small,” he said.
Another report on Friday, this one from Htxt.africa, says that Tesla will open an office in South Africa in January. Initially, it will have only one employee, Evan Rice. Rice is the CEO of GreenCape, which was formed two years ago to develop the market for renewable energy in the Western Cape area. Rice will be the Business Development Manager for the company and is expected to build a small team around him.
Rice and his team will be tasked with developing the market for Tesla PowerPack grid storage units. Tesla already has distribution plans for its PowerWall residential battery packs with several South African companies, including Dako Power and Rubicon.
“Ultimately, storage allows utilities to turn off power plants or defer new ones. You can basically, in principle, shut down half of the world’s power plants if you had stationary storage,” Elon Musk said during the second quarter earnings call in August.