As a testament to the company’s ambitions, Tesla’s Model S has been available in Japan since early September.
This new market availability follows the introduction in June of the Model S in right-hand drive configuration to the UK market. Japan, like the UK, requires drivers to be on the right side of the cockpit, as is the case in many other countries, including Australia.
The Model S has been available since early September in Japan, and the availability coincided with the opening of two Superchargers.
According to the map published by Tesla and shown bellow, the company has the intention of having in function at least 19 Superchargers in Japan by the end of 2015. The map also indicates where Tesla wants to have Superchargers in China by the end of 2015.
The big news here is the fact a U.S.-based automotive manufacturer is entering the Japanese market. This market is been almost closed to foreign automakers. According to numbers published by the JADA, in 2013, 96 percent of all vehicle sales in Japan were from Japanese manufacturers.
The other four percent is shared between different European manufacturers, with the exception of, according to a Forbes article, roughly 1,000 units sold by GM.
Tesla’s big asset to break into the Japanese market relies on a few key aspects: its relationship with Panasonic and Toyota; its innovative, different high-tech image; and the fact Japan is stuck when it comes to EV and PHEV. The limited openness aspect of its market means there is currently only seven plug-in electric vehicles sold there, including the introduction of the Model S. In comparison, many markets see around 20 plug-in electric vehicles vehicles offered, with Norway at the top with 24.
Tesla does have quite the task in front of them to be successful. Will this energize PHEV production and interest from Japanese manufacturers?