U.S. electric carmaker drives into China

Tesla Motors will soon be peddling its Model S series at competitive price points in the Chinese market, with plans to open its first showroom in Beijing in November.

Tesla Model S
(Credit: Tesla Motors)

U.S. electric carmaker, Tesla Motors, will soon be peddling its Model S in China at what it is touting to be competitive price points for Chinese consumers. 

"In the weeks to come, the first batch of cars will be shipped, after we have received approval from the Chinese government to import the vehicles," Jerome Guillen, the company's vice president for sales and service, said in a China Daily report.

Noting that pricing for the Model S was being finalized, Guillen said price points in China would not differ much from that in the U.S. where the electric car is sold for between US$70,000 and US$100,000. It sold over 25,000 cars last year and is aiming to double this number this year, fueled by anticipated new demand from China, he noted. 

The automotive company is aiming to make its cars affordable for the Chinese market, he said, adding that Tesla was already using components made in China. "We expect more suppliers from China. It's also a way we hope the Chinese government will impose lower duty for the partly 'localized' Tesla cars," he noted.

Guillen said China currently offers subsidies for China-made electric cars , and Tesla is hoping for such initiatives to include non-financial support such as free license plate applications, to make electric vehicles more attractive to buyers. 

The U.S. company is targeting to open its first showroom in Beijing in November, and its allotment of 100 units for pre-orders in the Chinese market had been oversubscribed, he revealed. It is currently scouting for new showroom sites in other cities including Shanghai and Shenzhen, he said. 

Tesla currently produces 600 cars each week and is looking to increase the capacity to support market demand, he added. 

Its Model S is touted to be able to travel up to 265 miles on a single charge, and can be configured with three different battery pack capacities. It can be charged through a power outlet at home.