Elon Musk was ambitious in his plans to conquer China with the Tesla Model S, but his bravado alone has not been enough to move the electric sedan. So in addition to threatening firings over slow sales of the Model S, Tesla will now offer all customers who bought their cars after January 1st a free charging station and installation.
Tech In Asia reports that this free charger program aims to alleviate the fears of would-be Tesla buyers who are concerned over a lack of charging infrastructure in China. Tesla has been slow to build enough Supercharger stations, and China is home to numerous megacities with electrical grids that range from cutting-edge to barely functional. This makes charging electric cars that much more difficult, and while plug-in car sales have been steadily rising, it’s hardly a dent worth mentioning in the world’s largest car market.
Unfortunately, the fine print says that to be eligible for this deal, the buyer must be within 350 km, or about 217 miles of a Tesla service station to get the free charger and installation. It’s also unlikely that this offer alone will be enough to convince fence-sitters who have fears about charging outside of their home base. After all, if you can afford the $121,000 price tag of a Tesla in China, the $750 wall charger probably isn’t much of a hangup. China has also embarked on a crusade to install an additional 400 Superchargers and destination charging stations, but that is going to take some time.
Perhaps it would be better of Tesla redoubled its efforts to install more destination and Supercharger stations across the mainland. Even the national government recognizes the issue, investing $16 billion into a modern charging infrastructure. In a nation of nearly 1.4 billion people, a few hundred charging stations probably isn’t enough to convince would-be buyers that Tesla has this charging infrastructure thing figured out.