Tesla S buyers in Shanghai China will receive a free license plate with purchase of the luxury electric car, a value of about $15,000 in car-crazy China. Add this to the growing list of reasons to own a Tesla Model S.
License plates can go for upward of $15,000 USD (yes thousand) in Shanghai, which you can already imagine is no simple affair. When a resident of Shanghai is buying a new car, they must partake in a government run auction in order to get a license plate for the car. While Shanghai is one of the wealthiest cities in China, it also houses 14.35 million people, making it the largest city in the world.
With such a massive population, the government of Shanghai had to come up with interesting ways to keep both car pollution and traffic jams in check. Enter the license plate auction, a complicated and costly process that requires a “good faith” deposit of 2,000 yaun, or about $320. Would-be bidders then get a software program which lets them put in a bid online, where government officials figure out how much they can charge to sell out of license plates.
Those who bid above the minimum threshold get a plate, while everybody else is out their deposit. In recent years, the cost to get a plate has exceeded the cost of many economy cars. While the Tesla Model S is no economy car, even at the $121,000 “fair price”, the license plate auction fee makes up a significant cost.
As with any government run system though, there are of course loop holes, and that’s where Tesla and the electric car comes into play. Chinese made electric cars are not subject to the license plate auction given their lack of emissions, but are limited to 3,000 cars per automaker.
Now Tesla isn’t a Chinese automaker, at least not yet. But Tesla managed to land a sweetheart deal with the Shanghai government to get foreign automakers access to the same special exemption as Chinese-made EVs. Though still only good for the first 3,000 vehicles per automaker, it should help make Shanghai the center of the Tesla universe, at least in China.