As billionaire founder Elon Musk prepares to test demand for electric vehicles in the world’s largest auto market, Tesla Motors will sell its battery-powered Model S sedan in China from 734, 000 yuan ($121,280).

The price for the Model S, equipped with a premium 85 kilowatt hour battery pack, puts the car in the same bracket as an Audi S5 sedan or BMW’s 5-series GT sedan, according to Autohome, a car-pricing website. It’s also 50 % more expensive than in the US, where the equivalent model sells for $81,070, according to Tesla’s statement.

“The price of a Model S in China is the same as the price of a Model S in the US, adding only unavoidable taxes, customs duties and transportation costs,” the carmaker said in a statement on its website. “If we were to follow standard industry practice, we could get away with charging twice as much for the Model S in China as we do in the US.”

China is struggling to meet a target of having 5 million alternative energy-powered vehicles by 2020 because of a lack of charging stations, high costs and concerns about safety and range. Tesla’s entry is being closely watched by other automakers that have been trying to convince local consumers that electric vehicles are worth the hassle.

Under a program unveiled in September, the central government will focus on promoting the use of new-energy vehicles in three regions anchored by the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou using subsidies through 2015. Local governments provide matching subsidies on top of incentives by central government of as much as 60,000 yuan toward the purchase of an all-electric passenger vehicle.

Via Bloomberg


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