A recent report from the state-run Xinhua News Agency has indicated that Tesla China’s dedicated Supercharger facility will feature an integrated R&D center. The facility, which will initially be producing about 10,000 Superchargers per year, is expected to start operations in the first quarter of 2021.
The updates to Tesla’s dedicated Supercharger facility in China were shared in the state-owned media outlet amid reports of the Gigafactory Shanghai-produced Model Y’s initial production and deliveries. Reports from the local EV community in China indicate that the Model Y is being received very well by consumers, with the all-electric crossover attracting flocks of interested buyers in Tesla stores.
Xinhua further noted that amidst this ramp, Tesla will be setting up a dedicated product design center to conduct local product design and R&D. The news agency did not specify if the R&D facility in the Supercharger factory will also serve as a design center, or if the company’s vehicle design initiatives will be set up on a different site.
With this update, Tesla’s $25,000 car for the Chinese market has taken a step forward. Last year, Tesla China revealed its intentions of establishing a design center to create EVs for the local market. Initial sketches of a vehicle for the Chinese market shared by Tesla depicted a car that is smaller and most likely cheaper than the Model 3.
This vehicle has been mentioned by Elon Musk in the past, with the CEO noting that the car, which will be priced at around $25,000, will feature Tesla’s classic performance and tech. Musk estimated that such a vehicle would be coming within the next three years, though considering how fast Tesla China is moving, as well as the company’s accelerated timeline for the Model Y, there seems to be a good chance that the $25,000 car may be coming sooner than expected.
A vehicle more affordable than the Model 3 will likely give Tesla a massive boost in the Chinese market, especially considering that the country’s EV segment is populated by barebones electric cars that are sold for cheap. Among these is GM’s Hongguang Mini, a vehicle that costs below $5,000 and lacks basic safety features such as airbags. Tesla’s $25,000 car would still be priced far higher than cars like the Mini, but with its superior performance, safety, and tech, consumers may be compelled to support the American electric car maker’s vehicle instead of alternatives that are full of compromises.