Tesla’s Q3 2021 Update Letter included several critical tidbits about the company’s ongoing projects across the globe. But amidst the wealth of information provided in the document, Tesla also included a small yet notable update of sorts from the Gigafactory Shanghai complex. The R&D center, where the $25k Tesla would be formally designed, has seemingly now been completed.
Earlier this year, Tesla China President Tom Zhu told state media outlet Xinhua Net that the company’s R&D center is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021. According to the executive, the site would be the location where Tesla would design, develop, and test a new vehicle that would be produced in China and sold across the globe. This vehicle has been widely speculated to be the $25k Tesla.
“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…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 executive said.
While Tesla has been quite silent about developments and updates surrounding the R&D center for its $25k car, job postings from the company over the past months have hinted that the new facility was nearing its launch. Back in August, for example, Tesla China posted several job openings for the R&D center, including some for vehicle design, vehicle software, hardware design engineering, material engineering, and vehicle engineering, to name a few.
Details about the upcoming $25k Tesla are still scarce. So far, CEO Elon Musk has only confirmed that the vehicle would not be called the “Model 2.” Previous reports from China, however, have noted that the upcoming vehicle would be a compact car based on the Model 3 platform. Industry insiders from China have also claimed that Tesla was already lining up suppliers for the $25k compact car, and that trial production for the vehicle should start sooner than expected.
The $25k Tesla has the potential to be a true difference-maker, and it could very well become a key player in the company’s goals of becoming a true mass-market carmaker that could produce 20 million vehicles per year by 2030. Designing such a vehicle would be among Tesla’s biggest challenges to date, as building a profitable EV with the company’s trademark tech and performance at such a price point would be a notable feat.