Tesla begins deliveries of China-made Model Y SUV

Tesla said it delivered its first batch of Shanghai-made Model Y vehicles to customers in China on Monday, marking another milestone for the U.S. electric vehicle maker in the world’s largest EV market.

Tesla launched the project to manufacture Model Y vehicles on Jan. 7, 2020, the second vehicle to be produced and delivered to Chinese customers in its Shanghai Gigafactory — its first overseas plant outside the U.S. The company launched the production of the Model 3 sedan in late 2019, and deliveries started in December of the same year.

“Model Y deliveries in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuhan, Hefei, Wenzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Ningbo and other cities have officially begun,” Tesla said on its official Weibo account on Monday, without revealing the exact number of deliveries. 

The China-made Model Y has a driving range of up to 594 kilometers and sells for 339,900 yuan ($52,000). The price is lower than some of its rival models including Audi’s A4, BMW’s 3-series and Mercedes C-class, while Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk once said the Model Y has the potential to outsell all other vehicles it makes.

The China-made Model Y has a driving range of up to 594 kilometers and a starting price of 339,900 yuan ($52,000), a price lower than some of its rival models. (Source: Tesla/Weibo)

Tesla, which became the world’s most valuable carmaker last year, sold around 120,000 vehicles in China in 2020, as it ramped up production in Shanghai and construction of charging networks.

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Tesla has built and launched more than 720 supercharging stations with over 5,700 superchargers in China, the world’s largest vehicle and EV market. Shanghai alone is home to 86 stations and more than 880 superchargers, according to Xinhua News.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), which include battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell cars, are expected to grow 30-40% in China to around 1.8 million units in 2021, according to a Reuters research citing the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Chinese authorities hope that 30% of cars sold by 2025 will have smart connectivity and have been providing extensive policy support to the EV sector, including tax subsidies, license plate laws, registration benefits and charging infrastructure investments.