Tesla Model S cars roll into Taiwan

Electric automaker Tesla announces first shipment of cars to Taiwanese customers

Red Tesla Model S indoors

Red Tesla Model S indoors (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Taipei (Taiwan News) -- Tesla Taiwan announced on Monday that it has delivered its first batch of Model S cars to Taiwanese customers, coinciding with the opening of its first supercharging station in Taipei.

According to a press release by Tesla, the latest version of the car, the Model S P100D, can accelerate from zero to 100 km/hr in 2.7 seconds and can travel 632 km on a single charge. Announcing that the company is also opening its first supercharging station in Taiwan, located in Taipei Expo Park, it said that it only takes 20 minutes to deliver 50 percent battery capacity to its vehicles.

To appeal to long-distance drivers, Tesla plans to expand its supercharger network to Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, and will open service centers in Taichung, Tainan and other cities. The company opened its first showroom in September of last year in Taipei's Xinyi District.

The company claims that its cutting-edge design and use of fewer parts and components than internal combustion vehicles allows owners to save not only on fuel costs but also maintenance fees. Tesla said that owners need only have their cars checked once a year or after every 20,000 km driven.

Taiwanese customers will enjoy an 8-year, unlimited mile battery and drive unit warranty and a 4-year or 80,000-km (whichever comes first) warranty for other parts of the vehicle, said Tesla.

Despite, the impressive charging speed, expanding charging network, and long-term warranty, the biggest obstacle for the car in Taiwan is the price. The base Model S is selling at NT3.18 million (US$101,000), which is significantly higher than the U.S. because of the luxury tax imposed on imported vehicles costing more than NT$3 million, and it is not known if the government will grant an exemption for its status as an electric vehicle (EV).

The government provides an exemption for EVs in Taiwan from commodity taxes and certain license taxes, though these tax wavers are set to expire on Jan. 27 of this year and it's not certain if these incentives will be continued.

Tesla's arrival in Taiwan will likely increase business for the local manufacturers in its supply chain, which provide about 12% of the car's parts, including electric motor maker Fukuta Electric and Machinery Co. (富田電機), electric-vehicle harness maker BizLink Holding Inc (貿聯), automotive gear maker Hota Industrial Manufacturing Co (和大工業), automotive connective supplier K. S. Terminals Inc. (健和興端子), and power system management supplier Delta Electronics Inc (台達電).