Tesla has yet to officially enter the Russian market, but that hasn’t stopped the unofficial Tesla dealer in the country from getting the electric vehicles (EVs) across the border.
Thanks to recent changes in the laws around the importing of EVs, sales could soon skyrocket in Russia.
In May, customs fees for EVs coming across the border went from 48%-54% for individuals and 15% for legal entities, all the way down to zero. The move is expected to provide a big boost to EV sales in the country, where the relatively high price and poor charging infrastructure has so far hindered their growth.
According to data from Autostat, only 353 EVs were sold in Russia last year. Of those, 81 were Tesla’s, most sold by Russia’s unofficial Tesla dealer, ‘The Tesla Club’.
The head of the club, Alexei Eremchuk, who has helped everyone from businessmen to politicians in getting their hands on a Tesla of their own, believes the changes could mean big business in the future.
“This year the (Tesla) fleet (in Russia) may easily increase by 1,000 cars, including used ones,” Eremchuk told Reuters.
Even with the changes to customs fees, it is still expensive to buy a new Tesla in Russia. On average, people pay between 7 and 8 million roubles ($128,000 CAD) for a new Tesla, with a basic Model 3 starting at 4.3 million roubles ($78,000 CAD).