Most business decisions that Tesla makes are fairly logical, but the company’s recent opening of pre-orders for the Cybertruck in China certainly raises some questions.
China is obviously now a key market for Tesla, with their expanding Shanghai Gigafactory, which will soon start producing Model Y’s to add to the Model 3s coming off the production line.
The country of around 1.4 billion people represents a massive opportunity and any automaker would be crazy to not at least try. It is a really competitive market, but there’s a unique opening for EV makers to sell into China.
The air pollution issues in China, has seen the Government accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, now offering the most publicly available recharging locations of any country on earth, by a big margin.
Purchasing an ICE vehicle also comes with a premium price tag, and registering an ICE vehicle is increasingly difficult, in comparison, it’s fairly easy to register an EV. These policies help china drive the adoption of electric vehicles.
In a country that has more than 250 million cars, China has had to get creative when it comes to storing vehicles. Here’s a shot of a parking garage that implemented a 45 degree lift to stack more cars into the same physical space. There’s lots of examples like this, including automated parking garages that take your car and store it like giant vending machine.
Given these limitations, parking something large like the Cybertruck anywhere in China’s vast cities would be a very difficult task.
As a country, China is growing up, with an ever increasing middle class with a little bit more wealth and a lot more money. Something like the Model 3 for sold 11,000+ in the month of May.
When it comes to the Ute segment, there are incumbents in the Chinese market, some of them even export into Australia like Great Wall. Some other brands like Ford have also sold their F150 Raptor into the Chinese market in the past, although they have stopped reporting data which is never a good sign.
Nissan are also trying their hand at an EV ute in China, unveiling the Nissan-Dongfeng Rich 6 EV dual-cab ute in July last year. So while the market doesn’t seem to love Utes, they are around and given the scale of the market, it’s possible quite a few of the people who live outside the major cities will be interested.
China is a market dominated by the Small SUVs, so while the country is kind to EVs and clearly loves the Tesla brand, it’ll be interesting to see how Cybertruck reservations go in China.
The Cybertruck isn’t expected to go into production until 2022, with the factory not yet built to produce them. If China becomes a big market, don’t be surprised to see Gigafactory Shanghai grow again to support a third production line.