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Tesla starts Model 3 orders in China, unveils new wheel design

It’s international expansion week for the Tesla Model 3. After launching the Model 3 display fleet in Europe and Asia, Tesla is now opening orders in China and seemingly unveiling a new wheel for the market at the same time.

Tesla has been guiding the start of volume Model 3 production for international markets during the first quarter 2019.

Deliveries are expected to start in March.

In order to prepare for these, Tesla is reportedly opening the order books – starting with China.

The Model 3’s Chinese mobile design studio was posted on Chinese social media (via Weixin):

Only the Long Range all-wheel-drive and Performance versions appear to be available and they respectively start at 580,000 RMB (~$83,500 USD) and 690,000 RMB ($99,400 USD).

Tesla doesn’t appear to be taking orders for the Mid-Range rear-wheel-drive version of the Model 3 in China just yet.

These vehicles will be imported from the US and it results in a significant premium on the US pricing.

Last month, Tesla said that it “accelerated” the construction of the Shanghai factory citing “cost disadvantage”:

“In addition, Tesla continues to lack access to cash incentives available to locally produced electric vehicles in China that are typically around 15% of MSRP or more. Taking ocean transport costs and import tariffs into account, Tesla is now operating at a 55% to 60% cost disadvantage compared to the exact same car locally produced in China. This makes for a challenging competitive environment, given that China is by far the largest market for electric vehicles. To address this issue, we are accelerating construction of our Shanghai factory, which we expect to be a capital efficient and rapid buildout, using many lessons learned from the Model 3 ramp in North America.”

Pricing is not the only new thing that we get from the start of orders in China.

Tesla appears to have unveiled a new 19″ wheel design for the Model 3 in the Chinese design studio:

It’s a new design that has never been seen before. It is similar to the 18″ aero wheel design, but it features less cover and clearer spokes.

Yesterday, CEO Elon Musk said that the first deliveries in China should be expected in March or April 2019.

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