Tesla to design & build affordable EV in China: Tom Zhu

Tesla to design & build affordable EV in China: Tom Zhu

Elon Musk-led electric vehicle pioneer Tesla Motors has confirmed that it is mulling plans to develop an affordable electric car in China, the world’s largest car market. China is also among the fastest growing EV markets in the world.

Tom Zhu, president of Tesla China, revealed during a recent interview with state media that an entry-level EV would be designed at the company’s a new research & development (R&D) center that is currently under construction in Shanghai. The R&D center is going to be the first of its kind Tesla facility outside the United States.

The American electric car maker has a goal to produce 450,000 EVs per annum at its Shanghai factory starting this year, and that the new R&D center will be responsible for handling all aspects of the EV production, including design, development and testing.

Tesla’s ultimate goal is to design, develop, and produce an affordable EV in China and sell it in other markets. There is a high possibility that the affordable EV will be equipped with 100 per cent China-made components. The American EV maker started exporting China-made EVs to Europe in 2020. Recently, it also started exporting China-made EVs to Hong Kong and other markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Earlier, Tesla Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk had also pointed about the company’s plan to produce and sell an affordable EV that would be priced below the Model 3. Obviously, the affordable EV would also be smaller than the Model 3 in size and battery efficiency. Making the announcement at the company’s Battery day event, he stressed that the new affordable model would have a $25,000 base price. He also indicated that it would likely hit the market in 2023.

The affordable EV will come equipped with a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack, under a strategy that has already been employed for some China-made Model 3 EVs. The strategy has helped the company in saving the most energy-dense cells for its Semi and Cybertruck. It may be noted here that Tesla is trying hard to ramp-up of its own battery cells as lack of battery cells have caused delays in some of its EV projects.

Governments around the world are doing their best to boost the production and adoption of environment-friendly electric cars, but their high cost remains a big hurdle on the way to their adoption by the masses.