Tesla Motors: Gaining traction in China
Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] is showing promise in China. This week, Country Caller reports that Tesla has, "joined hands with three Chinese banks, Bank of China, China CITIC Bank, and China Merchants, to provide preferential lines of credits to customers... [and the] Tesla China Sales Director said that the company will be opening 10 new 'self-operated retail stores' in China throughout 2016. The stores will be in four main cities including Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Tesla has 16 stores, 7 service centers, 87 Superchargers, and roughly 500 Destination Charging locations."
And Forbes previously reported that, "It appears that government policies promoting electric vehicles in the region are finally working to the advantage of Tesla... [and] according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, worldwide electric car sales are expected to reach 600,000 in 2015 of which sales in China will be around 220,000 to 250,000 vehicles, making it the largest EV [electric vehicle] market in the world, ahead of the U.S. This is more than the total cars Tesla has sold since the company was founded."
With all this opportunity, Tesla is taking key charging infrastructure steps (see above) in China: "The company is working on modifying its cars to meet the government [charging] standards and also appears to be expanding its super charger network in the region at a rapid pace." This was confirmed today; Electrek reported, "launch of the ‘Tesla Charging Partner Program’ in China to promote the national EV charging standard... [as] China has developed a new charging standard in order to more efficiently deploy a charging infrastructure capable of supporting the up to 5 million electric vehicles it hopes to get on the roads by 2020."
In addition, Tesla Motors has designed a unique feature that could greatly appeal to customers in China. According to CNBC, "If you've ever taken a deep breath in Beijing, you'll understand why Tesla is so excited about 'bioweapon defense mode.' Given China's well-documented problems with air quality, Tesla is hoping the cabin-filtering feature will be a major selling point as it expands sales of its electric cars there."
"One of the most interesting features for the Chinese market is the bioweapon defense mode," said Jon McNeill, head of global sales and service for Tesla, in an interview with Chinese broadcaster CCTV [see below]. "It creates air that's 800 times cleaner than the outside air," he added. And its not just a feature on the Model X -- Tesla also showcases this new HEPA Air Filter on its updated/refreshed Model S too. It's now one of the top new features being touted on the new Model S page on Tesla's website.
CNBC adds, "[Tesla] CEO Elon Musk first introduced the feature in the Model X SUV last September, and... Tesla has made no secret of its ambitions for the world's most populous country; McNeill also told CCTV that the company's next manufacturing plant 'very well may be in China.'" And Forbes also concludes, "With the company exploring production possibilities in China which could lower [the] sales price of its cars in China by a third, Tesla could be on course to capture this growing market."