Tesla’s China woes are intensifying, with the electric automaker headed by billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder Elon Musk seeing another top executive in China leaving the company after a tenure that lasted less than a year.
June Jin, vice president of communications has chosen to depart from the company, according to a Tesla China spokesperson – after last year two other top managers also left the company – just last December the automaker’s China President Veronica Wu quit her post. Musk last month also acknowledged that auto sales of electric cars during the fourth quarter were lower than expected – with buyers in the country still concerned about the technology and the easy access to recharging facility. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla Motors started last year delivering the Model S luxury electric sedan in the world’s largest auto market. The carmaker so far has established nine stores and service centers in six Chinese towns and signed partnership agreements with numerous companies – including China Unicom and Soho China Ltd – to establish charging stations. They currently have there the second-largest recharging network after the United States, with 700 power points in 70 cities across mainland China.
While authorities in numerous cities have started capping the number of traditional vehicles on their streets – with electrics receiving a “carte blanche” including when it comes to registration fees – Chinese consumers are not eager to adopt the so-called “new energy vehicles”, which encompass plug-in hybrids and electric powered by batteries or fuel cells. The main deterrents seem to be the higher up-front cost, lack of recharging facilities and limited driving range for the full electrics.