Tesla generated excitement in late 2020 by hinting at the possible release of a compact electric car that will sell for $25,000 and according to Elon Musk, the EV could be first introduced in China. Likely in support of that project, the automaker has been busy lately in Giga Shanghai - expanding the facility and hunting for new talents.
The U.S. automaker is reportedly looking for a new design director in China who will supervise a studio specifically tasked to develop vehicles that are tailored to the Chinese market. The exact fit wanted by Tesla is someone with decades of industry experience and "familiar with Chinese tastes and can bridge the gaps between China and the United States."
Tesla's current recruitment requirements in China align with the recent statement from Musk that suggested a plan to build an EV model that is specifically designed for the Chinese market. According to The Jakarta Post, publishing a Reuters report, Tesla wants the car to be conceptualized and assembled in Giga Shanghai.
He also intends to introduce the vehicle outside of China and the clues provided so far by Musk about the undertaking seem to point to an affordable electric car with a compact design. And if the project comes to fruition, the EV is expected to be sold with a sticker price of around $25,000.
Musk described the project - an affordable smart car that is designed and built in China - as "super cool."
For Tesla, pushing the project in China makes sense as the market for compact cars in the country is considered lucrative. Per the same report, up to six million small cars are sold in China every year and the segment makes up about 25% of the total vehicle sales. It certainly is a pie that Musk wants to get his hand to.
In preparation for this thrust, Electrek said the Giga Shanghai is ramping up its completion and the sprawling factory complex will soon see the addition of more buildings on the easter side. Such expansion activities are a testament to the explosive growth experienced by Tesla on its increasing presence in China.
At present, the manufacturing facility rolls out the Model 3 and Model Y and from all indications, the next big release that Giga Shanghai will handle is Tesla's cheapest electric car. The automaker has yet to provide the details but it is believed that the upcoming EV will be built using the Model 3 chassis.
The car is either a small sedan or hatchback version of the Model 3 but one thing is clear, Musk intends to roll it out with a budget-friendly price tag. And the Tesla CEO is confident of selling the rumored compact car at $25,000 apiece with the use of the automaker's cutting-edge battery technology and battery manufacturing techniques.
If the plan gets implemented without delay, Tesla could begin the rollout of its cheapest EV offering sometime in 2022.