Tesla China President Tom Zhu addressed many aspects of the electric car maker’s operations and ambitions in the country during a recent interview with Chinese state media outlet Xinhua Net. The widely awaited $25,000 compact electric car, which will be designed in a dedicated R&D center in Gigafactory Shanghai and sold worldwide, was among the most prominent topics he discussed.
The President of Tesla China stated that construction of the R&D center is already ongoing. There is a pretty good possibility that the facility will be completed in the near future, considering the speed of Giga Shanghai’s development in both its Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas. Zhu noted that this location will be the first Tesla R&D center on foreign soil.
“The center is in Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai, where we are now. We are now building our China R&D center right here. This R&D center is also the first Tesla R&D center outside the United States. The research and development center has all necessary disciplines, covering vehicle design, vehicle engineering, vehicle development, and vehicle testing,” Zhu said.
The executive also noted, interestingly enough, that Tesla China eventually wants to design, build, and manufacture an original vehicle in the country that will be sold worldwide. On account of its more affordable $25,000 tag, such a vehicle will likely make Tesla much more available to car buyers. This will certainly be a realistic target given the company’s attempts to localize its vehicle manufacturing through the use of domestic supplier components.
“We will provide very good conditions to facilitate our R&D Engineers working towards our ultimate goal. The ultimate goal has been mentioned on many public occasions. In the future, we want to design, develop and produce an original model in China, manufactured here and sold to the whole world. This R&D center is the starting point of the goal,” the Tesla China President remarked.
Recent reports from China have shown that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its affordable vehicle, which is expected to be priced between 160,000 RMB to 200,000 RMB (about $25,000 to $30,000), has already been launched by Tesla. Road tests will reportedly be the first batch of these vehicles in the immediate future, maybe as early as the latter half of 2021. Design-wise, existing speculation indicates that a hatchback based on the Model 3 platform would be the car.
Watch Tesla China President Tom Zhu’s interview with Xinhua Net in the video below.
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