A new government document, seen by Reuters, suggests that Tesla is seeking approval from Chinese authorities to build its long-range Model 3 variant in the country. The news comes just two months after it began manufacturing vehicles at its third gigafactory in Shanghai, China.
The standard Model 3 which is currently manufactured in China is able to travel around 400 kilometres on one charge. The long-range version, however, can travel just over 515 km. Tesla currently sells the long-range variant to Chinese customers but it has to import it from the United States, if it gets approval it’ll no longer have to do this and could potentially cut costs for those in the country.
Operations at Gigafactory 3 have restarted this week following an extended holiday put in place by the Chinese government in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. With the downtime, Tesla will likely miss any production goals it had set itself for the first quarter. At the start of January, the firm reported good delivery results for 2019 which sent stocks up.
With the Chinese Tesla factory complete, the firm is now constructing Gigafactory 4 in Germany to cater to European citizens. Once complete, there’s a good chance that Musk will focus on the U.S. again to build a fifth gigafactory, perhaps in Texas.