Tesla China boss Tom Zhu says he thinks Tesla will sell an electric hatchback on the global market and that it will be available, at least in China, by the end of 2021.
In the new interview, aired by Youtube channel “T-Study” on Tuesday, Zhu discusses various questions about Tesla’s presence in China including the rapid construction of its Shanghai gigafactory and its Tesla Design Centre.
Dubbed colloquially as the Model 2, and promised by Elon Musk at the company’s Battery Day in 2020, the electric hatchback would sell from around $US25,000, or $A32,300 in Australia before shipping, import fees, GST and other taxes are added.
“So we’re confident that long-term we can design and manufacturer a compelling $25,000 electric vehicle,” said Musk in September.
“In the future, we want to develop and produce a model with an original design in China and then sell it from a factory in China to the world,” Zhu said in the interview (translated from Chinese).
“I think it will be within this year.”
The new report lines up with earlier news from China that said a Model 2 would be unveiled at the upcoming Guangzhou Auto Show in November.
It is unclear if the “Model 2” will in fact have this name officially, nor whether it will follow the same design cues of the Model 3 and Model Y.
A rendering (shown above) was shared by Tesla China on social media channel Weibo in 2020 when it began recruiting staff for the Tesla Design Centre in Shanghai.
But before the Model 2 reaches production, Tesla first has to face up to Chinese regulatory authorities to answer questions about “abnormal acceleration” and “battery fires”, CNN reports.
According to CNN, five separate authorities have summoned the EV maker – which is the only car maker in China without a joint venture with a Chinese company – to address concerns about safety.
Tesla released a statement via Weibo, CNN reports, saying: “[We will] deeply reflect on the company’s operational shortcomings and comprehensively strengthen self-inspection,” Tesla said in a statement posted on Chinese social media website Weibo in response to SAMR’s remarks.
“We will strictly abide by Chinese laws and regulations and always respect consumer rights,” Tesla China said, adding it will “better contribute to the healthy development of China’s new energy vehicle market.”
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.