While the vast majority of US electric vehicle manufacturers continue to focus upon the U.S. market, trailblazer Tesla is now looking towards the Far East, with particular emphasis on China. The company has already announced plans to open a showroom in Beijing and despite the fact that just over 11,000 electric vehicles were sold in China last year, out of over 19 million total vehicle sales, the company is adamant it is a marketplace it wants to be in.
Many people have commented that the Far East in general, and China in particular, seems more interested in manufacturing EVs than the population buying them - something backed up by recent Chinese government support for overseas EV investment by Chinese companies. However, there are few in the industry who would question the motives and the means of Tesla which has never taken the easy route along the road to success.
Will the Tesla Model S be the key which opens the door?
Tesla is currently rolling out around 400 Tesla Model S vehicles a week and this is forecast to grow to around 800 in 2014. The company seems to have done its homework and by placing itself at the luxury end of the electric vehicle market it may well attract the attention of the brand aware Chinese population. Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla, predicts that his company could end up selling around 5,000 electric vehicles a year across Asia and this forecast could even be upgraded if the Tesla Model S is as well received as many expect.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Way to go Tesla, BIG step in the right direction for EV's!"
It seems that the key to Tesla’s short-term success revolves around the Tesla Model S which has been extremely well received by the market.
What other factors will come into play?
The air quality in some areas of China is abysmal to say the least and there have been significant concerns expressed by politicians and the medical profession. The government of the day will need to improve air quality to improve the general health of the population and electric vehicles, especially when you bear in mind that automobile sales topped 19 million a year, could play an integral part in future policies.
Whether Tesla would look to do any direct partnership arrangements with Chinese counterparts remains to be seen because this is often a route which can open significant doors for overseas companies. Perhaps the company believes that its brand name and the quality of its vehicles, especially the Tesla Model S, will be enough to crack the market?
Each step which the electric vehicle industry takes seems to be led by Tesla and while the majority of U.S. electric vehicle manufacturers are focusing upon the U.S. market, Tesla is now looking further afield. There is the opportunity for Tesla to open doors for other electric vehicle manufacturers in the future and when you bear in mind that historically Tesla has played a major role in pushing the industry forward, perhaps this may turn out to be true again?