With sales of the Tesla Model S poised to begin in China, Elon Musk again raised the idea of building EVs in the Peoples Republic, and soon. According to Musk, the Chinese Tesla factory could be up and running within the next three to four years.
“At some point in the next three or four years we’ll be establishing local manufacturing in China,” Musk said. “China is very important to the future of Tesla. We’re going to make a big investment in China in terms of charging infrastructure,” Musk said in a Bloomberg interview.
Tesla has already made big waves in China by announcing a “fair price” deal that doesn’t upcharge like many other brands. However, because of a hefty 25% import tariff, the Model S still starts at over $121,000 for the 60 kWh model. By bringing production to China, Musk could get the price of his electric sedan to under $100,000, even though customers have already proven they’ll pay four times that amount to own a Tesla Model S.
But there’s going to be a lot more for Musk and Tesla to do in China, including the establishment of a massive charging infrastructure One of the biggest hurdles to EV adoption is a lack of adequate charging facilities, and while other automakers have pledged to establish their own charging networks, Tesla seems to have the most to gain from installing dozens of their proprietary Superchargers.
With renewed interest in EVs from China’s governing party, and calls to curb dangerous levels of smog, Tesla be in the right place at the right time. Musk is bullish on China, and perhaps he knows something the rest of us don’t. With the first Tesla Model S sedans ready to be delivered to the first Chinese customers (at least through an established Tesla dealer), this week could mark a major turning point in Tesla’s future.
Maybe that massive Gigafactory isn’t such a crazy idea after all.