Tesla, Elon Musk’s company, chose Chile as the first country to land in South America.
Surely, it was a strategic decision analysed with great rigour, based on the performance of the country’s electric vehicle market.
Little by little, the company was giving signals that this presence would materialize.
The company registered the brand Tesla Chile SpA, according to a publication in the Official Gazette of Chile dated September 28. The unit can carry out activities such as the sale and manufacture of automobiles and those related to the “generation of energy and electricity.”
In October, it was revealed that Tesla opened applications on LinkedIn for two important positions: General Manager and Sales Advisor in Chile.
Finally, the new General Manager that the company recruited after reviewing more than 5,000 applications is the Argentine Agustin Amoretti, an industrial engineer with an MBA from IE Business School.
In November, the signals were clearer, as the company showed interest in participating in the public consultation on the update of the Technical Regulatory Specification RIC No. 15.
Now that the opening of its first location in Parque Arauco has been finalized, industry experts offer their views to Mobility Portal Latinoamérica.
Ignacio Rivas, Head of Sustainable Mobility and Green Hydrogen at the Energy Sustainability Agency (AgenciaSE), comments: “The arrival of Tesla is very good news for electromobility in Chile. Its arrival implies more competition and more electric vehicle models available to Chilean users.”
He adds: “Preliminary figures for 2023 show that the best-selling vehicle in the world was the Tesla Model Y. In that sense, its arrival is very positive, as it will enhance the Chilean market with products already tested and valued by users.”
On the other hand, Williams Calderón, Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation at the Center for Sustainable Acceleration of Electromobility (CASE), admits that it is still a high-end segment but will benefit the market.
“If it seeks to operate in Chile with the same business models as in other countries, it would create greater competition in the offering of vehicles and in the use of charging infrastructure,” Calderón elaborates.
And he maintains: “In addition to their cars, the business model would be the most disruptive or novel because it would force other brands to bring better vehicles.”
Meanwhile, Bárbara Silva, General Coordinator of the Center for Sustainable Acceleration of Electromobility (CASE), mentions: “The decision responds to Tesla’s strategy; I believe it is part of a long-term plan.”
And she argues: “Within Latin America, Chile has the best positioning in terms of unconventional renewable energies, there is a significant presence of electric car brands because it functions as a ‘laboratory’ in the automotive industry and is next to lithium.”
The fact is that conversations with Elon Musk are not recent. A few years ago, it was public knowledge that the government of Michelle Bachelet met with senior executives from Tesla, and former President Piñera had a meeting described as “secret” with Musk.
But this is not Musk’s first intervention in the country because his satellite internet service, Starlink, is already being marketed.