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In an interview, Tom Zhu, president of Tesla’s operation in China, confirmed that the company is working on a cheaper Tesla for the mass market which is expected to retail for 160,000 yuan (£18,000, 20,500 Euro, $25,000).
The car, expected to be a hatchback, will be locally designed for the Chinese market, but will be sold worldwide.
Referring to the rumoured vehicle, Elon Musk had earlier said:
“Something that would be super cool…so we’re going to do it…is to try to create a China to actually design an original car in China for worldwide consumption. I think this will be very exciting.”
The car would be designed, engineered and manufactured in China a first for Tesla. “Vehicle design, vehicle engineering, vehicle development, and vehicle testing,” Zhu said, will all happen at the new facility.
“We now expect it be up and running in the middle of this year,” Zhu noted. “It has more than 20 professional laboratories. We will provide very good conditions to facilitate our R&D engineers working toward our ultimate goal. The ultimate goal has been mentioned in many public occasions. In the future, we want to design, develop, and produce an original model in China. It is manufactured here and sold to the whole world. This R&D center is the starting point of the goal.”
According to the report, the new Tesla was already approved in September 2020 and product verification should be completed by March 2021, with the first deliveries in 2022.
There are rumours that Tesla will show off the vehicle, which is expected to take after the Model 3, at the Guangzhou Auto Show in November 2021.
See the interview below: