Tesla will likely unveil a smaller electric vehicle to be designed in China in November 2021 at the Guangzhou Auto Show, Chinese media reports.
Dubbed the “Model 2” by Tesla watchers, the compact electric car was one of several revelations from Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk at the EV maker’s Battery Day in 2020.
It will be the first locally-designed electric car made at Tesla’s China Design Centre, and will be made at the Shanghai gigafactory.
According to a report from China tech news site sina.com, the new vehicle will be a “hatchback version of the Model 3” and is expected to sell for around 160,000 yuan ($A32,526 converted) and will have a driving range of somewhere between 350-450km driving range.
According to the report, Tesla has already commenced the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for production of the “Model 2”, which according to another report from Tesmanian blog will be produced in a second phase plant at the Shanghai factory.
The EIA reportedly refers to a “new model early launch project”, production for which will take six months to test.
When the compact electric car does make it into the lucrative and mammoth Chinese market, it won’t be a moment too soon for Tesla.
While Tesla has proved a dominating force in the Chinese auto market, it came second to Wuling’s tiny HongGuang Mini EV which in December 2020 sold 33,000 units to the Model 3’s 23,000.
It’s unlikely the Model 2 will be able to compete against the Wuling’s tiny 28,880 yuan ($A5,870 converted) price point but it will, of course, have the advantage in terms of Tesla tech and software.
It is not clear if the compact “Model 2” will eventually make it to Australia, although considering it is now confirmed that Tesla is preparing to ship Shanghai-built Model 3s to the local market as we speak, it is not outside the realms of possibility – although we expect to see the Model Y here first.
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 since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.