Tesla has gained approval to sell its Model Y electric crossover in China, according to documents published by the Chinese ministry of industry and information technology on Monday.
The addition of the Model Y to the car maker’s China line up is significant. It has already reportedly been testing a locally made Model Y at its Shanghai plant where it is has been contructing a second-phase Model Y factory to compliment its Model 3 production lines.
The application to sell the Model Y in China was submitted in November.
As the only car maker allowed to build cars in China without some form of local ownership or partnership, Tesla has already proven it can appeal successfully to the Chinese market.
Tesla’s Model 3 electric sedan is the most popular electric car in China for 2020, having sold almost 100,000 units to date this year – twice as many as the next most popular car, the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV.
Following the success of the Model 3, the Model Y will be Tesla’s second “mass-market” electric vehicle, and is already available to order in China.
US investment firm Wedbush Securities said in a recent note that it expects China will be a major market for Tesla in coming years.
“We believe China could represent up to 40% of overall deliveries for the EV leader Tesla in 2022,” the Wedbush report noted according to Yahoo Finance.
China bloggers report that even without the presence of the Model Y (which was presumably still awaiting approval to promote and sell from China authorities) at the Guangzhou Auto Show this week in China, Tesla’s booth has by far the most interest.
This Chinese blogger says Tesla booth experiences the heaviest foot traffic at the on-going Guangzhou Auto Show, even with absence of MIC Model Y. FYI, small SUV segment is the fastest growing one in China.
Source: SinTsang pic.twitter.com/1Cleue4Bzs
— Ray4Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) November 30, 2020
The Model Y is still currently only listed on Tesla’s China website in the premium Long Range and Performance variants.
This means that for now, the Model Y costs almost twice as much as the China-made Model 3 which is only available in the base-level Standard Range Plus variant, and uses a cheaper lithium iron phosphate battery.
Tesla’s China website states a ¥ 488,000 ($A100,823 converted) sticker price for the Long Range variant, and ¥ 535,000 ($A110,530 converted) for the Performance variant.
How soon Model Y deliveries will begin in China is unclear, as there has not yet been news of a production permit which would allow Tesla to begin making the Model Y at its Shanghai factory.
It is, however, ready for an onslaught of Model Ys from a charging perspective – Tesla China announced on Monday (China time) that it has now opened its 500th supercharger.
The 500th Tesla supercharger station in mainland China is opened in Shanghai pic.twitter.com/q1uVwuxQHJ
— Tesla Greater China (@teslacn) November 30, 2020
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.