Korea considers changing its EV subsidy after Tesla buyers cash in

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by Kivi

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08.14.2020

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South Korea may exclude Tesla from the list of automakers that qualify for electric-car subsidies as the California transplant racks up sales, The Korea Herald reported Sunday.

Between January and June, Tesla accounted for 43% of 209.2 billion won ($176 million at current exchange rates) in subsidies, according to the report.

That will likely push the Ministry of Environment to eliminate high-end brands from the list of automakers eligible for subsidies, the report said. Stakeholders are expected to make changes to the current framework for calculating subsidies by October.

Even without the Model Y on sale, Tesla is outselling electric cars from local brands Hyundai and Kia. In the first half of the year, the Model 3 was the bestselling electric car in South Korea, with nearly double the sales of the second-best Hyundai Kona Electric, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

South Korea also late last month launched a safety probe focusing in on the Model 3. It will look at braking and steering systems, as well as the Autopilot driver-assist system, according to Reuters.

The country has had strong incentives for much of the past decade, with the capital city of Seoul offering the equivalent of almost $25,000 at one point in 2014.

In the United States, Tesla was the first automaker to hit the 200,000-vehicle ceiling permitted before triggering a sunset period for the federal EV tax credit.

The tax credit in the U.S. makes no effort to favor domestic automakers or recognize early adopters. With expiration, might make the environment more competitive for them.

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