A recent study from the state-run Xinhua News Agency has suggested that there will be an integrated R&D center in Tesla China’s dedicated Supercharger plant. The factory, which will initially manufacture approximately 10,000 superchargers per year, is scheduled to commence operations in the first quarter of 2021.
According to the state-owned media outlet, the updates to Tesla’s dedicated Supercharger facility in China were shared in the midst of news of the original production and deliveries of the Gigafactory Shanghai-produced Model Y. Comments from the local Chinese EV community suggest that customers are receiving the Model Y very well, with the all-electric crossover attracting flocks of interested buyers in Tesla stores.
Xinhua further noted that Tesla will set up a dedicated product design center in the middle of this ramp to conduct local product design and R&D. The news agency did not specify whether the Supercharger factory’s R&D facility would also serve as a design hub, or whether the company’s vehicle design projects would be set up at a different venue.
Tesla’s $25,000 car for the Chinese market has taken a step forward with this update. Tesla China announced its intentions last year to set up a design center for the local market to build EVs. The initial sketches of a vehicle shared by Tesla for the Chinese market showed a car that is smaller and potentially cheaper than the Model 3.
In the past, Elon Musk discussed this vehicle, with the CEO noting that the car, which will be priced at around $25,000, will feature the classic performance and technology of Tesla. Musk predicted that such a vehicle will arrive in the next three years, but there seems to be a strong possibility that the $25,000 car might come sooner than anticipated, given how quickly Tesla China is going, as well as the company’s accelerated timetable for the Model Y.
A vehicle more affordable than the Model 3 is likely to give Tesla a massive boost in the Chinese market, especially given that the country’s EV segment is populated by cheaply sold barebone electric cars. GM’s Hongguang Mini, a vehicle that costs under $5,000 and lacks basic safety features such as airbags, is among these. Tesla’s $25,000 car will still be priced much higher than cars like the Mini, but with its superior performance, safety, and technology, buyers may be inclined to support the vehicle of the American electric car manufacturer rather than compromise-filled alternatives.
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