Tesla may bring a $25,000 electric vehicle (EV) to market sooner than everyone thought. A new report out of China says the automaker has already approved a smaller EV that could begin production as early as next year.
First reported by Sina Motors on the Chinese social media site Weibo, Tesla’s strong sales in the country have helped push plans for a cheaper EV ahead. Citing a Giga Shanghai eco-assessment report, Sina reported the vehicle design was approved in September. Sources also tell Drive Tesla the first prototypes of the vehicle could be ready in March this year.
The entry-level EV will be based on the Model 3 chassis, and cost between ¥160,000-¥200,000 ($25,000-$30,000 CAD).
During the company’s Battery Day event last year, CEO Elon Musk revealed they will be building a $25,000 EV. That price point was achievable because of the new 4680 battery cells and integrated battery packs also announced during the event.
When Musk was on hand to personally deliver the first made-in-China Model 3’s last year, he made the surprise announcement that he wanted to hire a team of designer and engineers to create new, original electric vehicles (EVs).
Tesla followed through by beginning to hire for the China Design Center later in the year, the first of its kind for the automaker outside the US.