PALO ALTO, California (Kyodo) — U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc. will open seven new service centers in Japan by the end of the year to boost sales in the country that currently has only one such facility in Yokohama, CEO Elon Musk told Kyodo News in a recent interview.
“Later this year we will go to eight service centers, so we’re steadily opening up more and more service centers,” Musk told Kyodo News at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, adding that the automaker expects “sales in Japan to increase substantially this year.”
Musk also said that Tesla, which began selling the Model S electric car in Japan last year, will build more “supercharger” stations across the country. The company currently has six charging stations — three in Tokyo and one each in Yokohama, Osaka and Kobe.
Musk emphasized that the charging stations will operate independently of Japan’s electric grid, which has seen prices rise as nuclear power plants in the country remain offline following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
“Our proposal is to use solar panels to power charging stations and then there’s no impact on the grid,” the CEO said. “That way, the cost of electricity is much less and the electricity is coming from pure sunlight, which is therefore very clean.”
Besides service centers and charging stations, Musk said the company is making a “big investment” in the car’s Japanese language capabilities and accuracy of local maps for the navigation system.
“All the pieces will be in place for Japanese customers to have a great experience with the car,” he said.