Tesla to deliver Model X to Chinese consumers ahead of schedule

Updated: 2016-06-02 07:02

By Du Xiaoying(China Daily)

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Tesla to deliver Model X to Chinese consumers ahead of schedule

An employee works on a Tesla Motor Inc Model S sedan at the company's assembly plant in Fremont, California. China is the second-largest market for Tesla. [Photo/Agencies]

US electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc plans to deliver in advance its Model X to Chinese customers at the end of the month, instead of the first quarter of 2017, a senior Tesla official told China Daily on Wednesday.

The official said that the customers of the model will be able to choose its optional accessories from Wednesday.

The e-car maker is increasing its production capacity at full stretch. "Stimulated by the impressive number of orders of Model 3, we are now making a new capacity plan," said Robin Ren, vice-president of Tesla and president of its Asia-Pacific region.

Orders for Tesla's latest Model 3 reached 374,000 globally by the end of April, and according to Ren, "many of them are from Chinese customers".

Ren said Tesla adopts a "global pricing" policy, so it tries to introduce the same retail price worldwide. But considering tariffs and the exchange rate, the price of Model 3 in China would be about 400,000 yuan ($60,720), instead of $35,000 in the United States, he said.

On Wednesday, the company signed a contract with the Beijing municipal government, to locate its operational headquarters in the city, where its sales headquarters have been since the carmaker entered the Chinese market in 2014.

Tesla also participated at the Beijing international fair for trade in services from May 28 to June 1. It was the first time the company took part in such an event.

"Participating in the fair was a new move for Tesla. We hoped the fair could offer a different approach to reach our potential customers, and a new platform to broadcast the concept of electric cars," Ren said.

China has become Tesla's second-largest market after the US, with a more than 300 percent annual growth rate.

Zhu Xiaotong, general manager of Tesla China, said the company plans to increase the number of its outlets in China from the current 17 to about 30 by the end of the year.

Tesla to deliver Model X to Chinese consumers ahead of schedule

Zhu said the company is speeding up the rollout of its charging point network in China. The 100th "super charging station" will be located in Beijing this year.

Tesla also plans to build a factory in China by the end of 2018. Several Chinese media outlets reported last month that there have been some changes in plans, however.

Ren clarified that Tesla is still planning to build the factory, but refused to give any more information.

Tesla delivered 14,820 cars globally in the first quarter, up about 50 percent year-on-year. It aims to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 cars internationally this year.

Recently, following concerns about the limits of battery technology, some Chinese electric-car makers such as Chery Automobile Co plan to produce pure electric cars for short ranges. As for long range cars, electric plus range extenders (powered by petrol or fuel cells) will be used.

Ren said Tesla would remain a maker of pure electric vehicles.

"Our lithium-ion battery technology is the best in the world. From a business perspective, we will always follow the route," he said.