While Tesla has been America’s financial sweetheart for much of last year and the first quarter, China is a rather tough nut to crack when it comes to electric sales. Now, CEO Elon Musk is there to direct the advent of deliveries.
While many cities have imposed – or consider imposing strict regulations when it comes to new car sales because of increased pollution, the electric segment is open to all without any hindrance and the government even subsidies such acquisitions. Still, customers have been very reluctant to such purchases, citing range and charging infrastructure concerns, as well as the higher price of such cars.
Now, the billionaire chairman has come to Beijing this week and is set to host today an event to mark the occasion. The Palo Alto, California-based electric automaker has opened the order books for Chinese customers since last August and has in Beijing a show car space in a mall since late last year.
“I think they can sell quite a few here in the market,” said Finbarr O’Neill, president of J.D. Power & Associates. “There’s a lot of talk about Tesla but you know, their numbers are not huge Mr. Musk has been successful in many fields. I wish him luck, but there’s a limit to every market.”
Tesla aims to have its Model S sedan meet the government supported electric-car subsidies – as the price of the model, in its 85 kilowatt-hour battery version starts at 734,000 yuan ($118,000) in the country. Because of shipping charges, value-added taxes and import duties, the China price is much bigger than in the US – where it’s around $71,000 before federal credits.