The youngest publicly traded US automaker, Tesla Motors, has been a sweetheart of prospective investors, mesmerized by the prospect of turning a green carmaker into a global powerhouse.
Co-founded and lead by bullish billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, Tesla has proposed a grandiose plan to the world – make electric cars as important as their polluting internal combustion engine cousins. That includes a model buildup from just one currently, building a massive battery factory to lower costs and expand internationally. One key “adventure” in the global strategy is China – the world’s largest auto market and the second biggest economy overall. But the carmaker’s high hopes for the country have seen some hurdles – from executives that come and go to sales impacted negatively by consumer anxiety about available power refill stations. Musk said on occasions that it’s “not difficult to charge your car in China,” claiming Chinese drivers don’t have to worry about charging logistics if they own an electric vehicle.
And Musk needs to reassure them because the company’s yearly goals hinge on the way Tesla is welcomed in China. The country is key to nailing the goal of selling 55,000 units worldwide in 2015. Musk has a rock star adulation aura in China and there are numerous wealthy buyers that can snatch costly Model S luxury electric limousines in the country. But the automaker has had slower than expected sales since it launched officially back in April 2014 – and “range anxiety” might be a crucial factor. Chinese cities are well known for their epic traffic issues and other alternative-energy carmakers have also been challenged by the still developing charging stations network.