The electric car company is launching its Chinese website ahead of the brand's official debut in February.
Tesla Model X: Described as a crossover sport utility vehicle, it is destined for production before the end of the year. Available with 4-wheel drive, the Model X is electric only and has a range of 210 miles (340km) between charges. It will also feature rear gull-wing doors which will look dramatic but could cause problems in carparks. Photo:AFP
From Monday environmentally conscious well-heeled Chinese consumers can start reserving the Model S executive sedan or its SUV equivalent, the Model X, online. However, thanks to the import taxes levied against vehicles from foreign companies that are imported into the country rather than built in China, prices begin at $146,000 for the Model S. That's double the asking price for the same car in the US.
The website follows the opening of the company's first Chinese showroom in August. Based in Parkview Green, one of the most affluent areas of Beijing, it has been taking pre-orders for both cars for the past four months in the run up to the first customer cars arriving in the country in February.
As cool as the Tesla brand is fast becoming, the company could struggle to attract buyers in China. One of the biggest benefits of owning a Model S, in the US at least, is the ever-growing network of supercharging stations. These rest stops offer Tesla owners the chance to top up their cars' batteries for free in under 30 minutes (for a 50 percent charge) and significantly boost the vehicle's range.
China currently has no Tesla supercharging stations and will face competition from other luxury marques, such as BMW as well as domestic Chinese electric car companies as it attempts to conquer affluent Asia in the same way it has affluent America.