Tesla cars could qualify for gov’t subsidy soon

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Tesla cars could qualify for gov’t subsidy soon

Buyers of Tesla cars in Korea could receive subsidies from the government as early as September after the Ministry of Environment said Monday it would scrap regulations that limit subsidies to electric vehicles that take less than 10 hours to charge.

The Korean government has been issuing subsidies for electric-car buyers to encourage their purchase, but because Tesla’s Model S has a larger battery and takes more than 13 hours to fully charge, customers of the car did not qualify.

“The 10-hour limit was created in 2012 when electric vehicles were just being introduced to Korean consumers,” a ministry official said, adding that such a standard was meant to rule out underperforming electric vehicles that took an unnecessarily long amount of time to charge. “But since there are new electric vehicles with better functions and bigger batteries, there have been requests to revisit the standard.”

In addition to removing the limit on charging time, the ministry also established a new standard on charging speeds to avoid giving subsidies for underperforming electric vehicles.

Based on the standard, the ministry will only give subsidies for electric cars that can handle a current of more than 23 amperes for ordinary charging and more than 100 for rapid charging. Tesla’s Model S meets this standard, making it eligible for government subsidies worth at least 14 million won ($12,400). With a subsidy from the provincial government, that amount can easily surpass 20 million won.

In Korea, Tesla offers the 75D, 90D and 100D versions of its Model S. The cheapest option, the 75D, costs 99.45 million won without subsidies.

The ministry will take public comment on the revised regulation through Aug. 22 and make a final announcement in September.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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