A senior China executive said the US battery carmaker Tesla Motors expects China sales to contribute 30-35 % of its total global growth targeted for this year.
Veronica Wu, vice president for Tesla’s China operations, told Reuters the firm plans to set up stores in 10-12 Chinese cities in 2014. She also said the obstacles that have delayed Tesla’s full entry into the China market have been cleared after recently resolving a trademark dispute over its name in Chinese.
Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, said he expects just 5,000 Model S deliveries in China this year, reaffirming the company’s earlier projections.
“Our production is relatively limited. As for the last year, we were not limited by sale, we were limited by production,” Musk said. “Our production will catch up with the demand in a few years, but I think for this year and probably next year, the demand will be higher than our production. ” Musk also said he would encourage anyone who wants to order a Tesla car to do so quickly “as we will not have any production left for the year.”
Tesla said it expects to begin delivering the Model S in China late this spring. The Palo Alto, California company began to accept Model S orders in China in August. Musk said he expects the company “to be in six metropolitan regions in China by the end of this year, with multiple service centers in each metropolitan area”.
Tesla is also looking to develop a Supercharger network in China to enable owners to travel long distances between major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
“The thing we plan to do with the supercharger is not only have some of them between cities, but also in cities, so that you can charge in the city very quickly,” the CEO said. “We are going to make a big investment in China, just as we did in the US and Europe,” he said. “We think China is just as important a market to us as the US.”
Full details of the supercharger plan will be unveiled when Musk visits China at the end of March, he said. Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president corporate and business development at Tesla, said the company recently has started taking steps to make the network a reality but declined to give a time frame for completion.