Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will start selling its Model S sedans in China this month. The electric vehicle maker’s co-founder and CEO Elon Musk will fly to the world’s most populous country to kick off the effort. Tesla’s VP of marketing and communications Simon Sproule said in a Bloomberg Television interview that Elon Musk will personally make the “first customer deliveries.”
Tesla to build a massive supercharger network in China
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stated earlier this year that China has the potential to become its largest market, overtaking the U.S., as early as next year. The Palo Alto-based company’s push into China is part of its strategy to boost production by at least 56% this year. Sproule said the company hasn’t set an exact date for the first deliveries.
The auto industry is closely watching Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s China entry. The country has set a target of bringing at least 5 million clean energy vehicles on the roads by 2020. However, the country is way behind its target due to high costs and a lack of charging stations. China’s worsening air pollution has become a big concern for the government. China has been encouraging people to buy electric vehicles to help with pollution problems.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is planning to aggressively expand its supercharger network in China. It will allow Model S owners to charge their vehicles for free, and travel long distances. The company is expected to open service centers in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenzhen by this fall. Tesla is currently training third-party electricians to install supercharging facilities.
Tesla working on right-hand drive versions of Model S
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s fan base in China has witnessed rapid growth, even though its sales in the U.S. has plateaued, according to Barclays analyst Brian A. Johnson. The company has priced its Model S at 734,000 yuan or $121,000 in China. Though the price tag is higher than that in the U.S., it’s much lower than what experts were expecting.
Besides its entry in China, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is working on the right-hand drive versions of Model S for the Hong Kong and U.K. markets.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares were down 0.24% to $216.42 in early trading session on Thursday.