Update – Instagram channel FutureCarsNow has posted a rendering of a ‘compact model’ from Tesla Motors. At the company’s shareholder meeting in 2018, Elon Musk, on the topic of expanding the brand into new segments, said “I think we’ll do a compact car in less than five years.” Since then Tesla has not confirmed that a car smaller than the Model 3 is in the pipeline (the Cybertruck, Roadster and the Semi are the ‘known’ future models) but it is interested in developing a vehicle in China for worldwide consumption as well.
Tesla is setting up a Chinese design centre where we expect not one but a family of models to be designed in the coming years considering the demand for EVs in the Chinese market, and a low-price electric car (around USD 20,000), which could be the biggest challenge yet for the company, could drive adoption of electric vehicles in emerging markets like India where Tesla, despite not being present, has a high level of aspiration and respectability.
18 June, 2020 –
Tesla invites designers via social media for new China-style EV
In January, Elon Musk revealed that Tesla would start a design studio in China and now Tesla is calling designers to come up with designs for a China-style EV for a job review at the company.
Tesla posted on Chinese social site WeChat asking designers (professionals and non-pros) to submit designs for an all-new vehicle. Tesla started deliveries of the Model 3 in China in January and it was at this event that Musk spoke about designing an electric vehicle in China that would be sold worldwide. At this point it is only media speculation, but the vehicle designed in China could be a compact crossover smaller than the Model 3.
17 January, 2020 –
Design drawing purportedly shows the entry-level Tesla Model 2
Last week, Tesla started deliveries of the made-in-China Model 3 and at the event, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, revealed that the company would start a design studio and an R&D centre in China for indigenized products.
Tesla has published an interesting new design sketch of what auto sleuths dub the ‘Model 2’ hatchback with a short wheelbase, strong shoulder line and a coupe-style roof. The release was part of Tesla’s official announcement in its WeChat account calling for people to apply for jobs at the upcoming design and engineering centre.
Reports speculate that Tesla Motors will build an entry-level car, positioned below the Model 3 (that starts at about USD 35,000 in the USA), in China at the Gigafactory 3 plant and export it to markets including Asia where existing Tesla cars are very expensive to bring any real volume or disrupt the market. Last October, Tesla started trial production in the factory and got a manufacturing license for the facility. In December 2019, made-in-China Model 3 entered the Chinese government’s list of approved vehicles for new energy vehicle subsidies. Production kicked-off using a small percentage of Chinese made parts, estimated to reach 100 percent level by the close of the year.
I think something that would be super cool would be to create a China design and engineering centre to actually design an original car in China for worldwide consumption. I think this will be very exciting. I think China has some of the best art in the world, and I think it’s something that would be appreciated on a worldwide basis. I think it should be done, and we’re gonna do it.Tesla CEO Elon Musk, at the Tesla Model 3 delivery event in China this year
Tesla has three models on sale – Model S, Model X and Model 3. Orders are being taken for Model Y with deliveries set to begin in the coming weeks. Tesla has showcased Roadster, Semi Truck and Cybertruck models estimated to meet production in 2020 or 2021.
China could prove to be a major market for Tesla as the country is taking to EVs faster than anywhere in the world and has a high technology adoption rate. China is the biggest world market for electric vehicles and has many EV manufacturing OEMs such as BYD, BAIC, SAIC, Geely and Changan and it should take Tesla 3 years before we see the first fruits of its Chinese tech centre.
Our only hope that Tesla does not end up as a rich man’s toy in India and that the company enters the market with plans to manufacture models for the mass-market.