Tesla Inc. ’s Model Y [Photo provided by Tesla]
U.S. electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla Inc. is expected to sell its first China-made car in South Korea as early as this year, which will come with a cheaper price compared with those available now that come from the U.S. plant.
According to information disclosed by the Ministry of Environment on Thursday, Tesla Korea, the local unit of the U.S automaker, has recently obtained an environment certificate for Model Y Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) manufactured in Shanghai, China.
The ministry’s certification process is one of the regulatory requirements for global automakers to sell their vehicles in Korea.
Model Y is one of the world’s most popular Tesla vehicles. Its sales have been growing fast globally.
The certified Model Y RWD will be loaded with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries produced by China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL). The LFP-based model is cheaper compared with Tesla’s other long-range models powered by lithium-ion batteries that can travel longer distances.
A battery is one of the key components that accounts for 40 percent of the entire EV cost.
Tesla’s Model Y Long Range that comes with a lithium-ion battery is priced at about 78 million won ($58,663) in Korea, which is 25 percent more expensive than the same model available for sale in China.
The price of an LFP-loaded model is even cheaper at 50 million won.
Industry insiders note that the Model Y RWD eligible for state subsidies will be priced at about 57 million won in Korea as it will be loaded with an LFP battery. An LFP battery is 20 percent heavier than a lithium-ion battery, which suggests that the Model Y RWD may have lower driving efficiency.
By Park So-ra and Han Yubin
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