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Tesla and Jeju - "The great partnership"Jeju governor calls on Tesla to join the island's carbon-free vision
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승인 2016.07.29  14:20:08
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▲ Tesla co-founder Jeffrey Straubel (right) met with Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong Photos by Jeju Peace Institute

Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong has called on the founders of the Tesla electric vehicle (EV) to be "great partners" in the island’s carbon-free 2030 bid.

Jeju Special Self-Governing Province wants to install a green smart grid, entirely eliminating fossil fuel use for the island's energy needs.

It aims to swap the island’s 375,000 registered gasoline fueled vehicles with clean EV ones within 13 years.

Now Governor Won has invited Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and its co-founder Jeffrey Straubel, to work closely in bringing the island's goal to fruition.

He was speaking at the 2016 Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, when he made the call for a partnership with the Californian car maker.

Inviting the company to come to the island to sell its cars, install EV Superchargers and carry out research and design work, he said: "We are going to be the case study for the entire world.

"But I believe we see a lot of consistency between our vision and Tesla's vision...I wish Tesla to join us in our journey to achieve this vision for Jeju island and I hope we can be great partners for each other."

He continued: "We had a pre-meeting before coming to this special session and I hope Tesla can dispatch a special team to Jeju island so we can have in-depth discussions for possibilities for a future partnership.”

Under the plan, wind farms, solar power and other renewable energies will provide much of the island's electrical supply needed to power the island's vehicles.

▲ Tesla co-founder Jeffrey Straubel (right) met with Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong Photos by Jeju Peace Institute

But the Province will need to ramp up its supply of charging stations and find new incentives for drivers to make the switch to the clean energy cars.

The island already has the largest amount of EVs than any other region in Korea, with 2,368 registered according to figures released in December 2015 by the Ministry of Environment. In total, 29,000 EVs are planned to be on the road by 2017.

Jeju currently has 2,500 charging points with 70,000 private and publicly owned charging points to be located across the island by 2030.

Tesla plans to launch its anticipated Model 3 vehicle late 2017 and has already set in motion a global network of its Superchargers, which provide an EV with a full charge of power within 30 minutes.

Straubel has said its current model - the Model S - is able to drive from the Arctic Circle to the South of France using the automakers own brand of chargers.

Adoption of the technology is considered vital if Jeju's carbon-free goal is realised. Yet while the island’s infrastructure of chargers is rapidly growing, the Tesla Supercharger is not among them.

Questioning the Tesla co-founder about Tesla's plans as part of a special session at the Forum, Governor Won said: "You have talked about the Supercharger installation map, you have Supercharging networks in Japan and China but what about Korea? We do not have any single Supercharger installed in Korea yet.

"If the new Tesla models are going to operate well in Korea, we will have to solve this charging problem. What is your plan for installing Superchargers in Korea?"

While Straubel would not be drawn on any plans the company had for Superchargers in Korea, he said it was possible for the units to be installed alongside the existing infrastructure.

▲ Tesla co-founder Jeffrey Straubel (right) met with Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong Photos by Jeju Peace Institute

But sustainable energy to power electric vehicles goes beyond providing power for just transportation, Straubel said.

New energy storage systems installed in homes, industrial units and even at an utility level can be used to serve energy needs and feed the surplus back to the electricity grid, said Straubel.

"This isn't science fiction. It's not something that's going to take another decade. These are products that all exist today. This is something we are pretty excited about," he said.

Since assuming office in 2014, Governor Won has been a strong advocate for EVs. He oversaw a project which swapped all cars driven by officials in the Province with electric ones.

By becoming a haven for EVs powered by a sustainable energy smart grid, he hopes Jeju can become a model for eco-cities around the world.

Straubel said he was keen to show support for the vision, which he described as a "compelling" one.

"It's the same direction that the whole world needs to head in time, but this is a unique place to be a testbed and offer examples of how to do this at a scale and show the rest of the country and the world how to do that.

"I think there is massive potential in this type of vision, combining vehicles with distributed energy storage and renewable energy. This is going to be a massive area for growth for many companies, for many different products all around the world. Starting here would be a great way to do that. We definitely think that is the right direction to go," said Straubel.

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