China gets locally made Tesla Model Y as India awaits Tesla Model 3

After the USA last year, it is now China’s turn to get a locally made Tesla Model Y. Meanwhile, India eagerly awaits the launch of the imported Tesla Model 3 that was said to take place at the beginning of this year.

China gets its locally made Tesla Model Y from the Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai. Tesla is delivering Chinese customers their locally made Model Y there with cheeky memorabilia (below picture), and in some cases (above picture), even a temporary license plate that reads “S3XY”. The Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai could be connected to the Tesla India launch, which we have explained further inside this story.

Tesla Model Y delivery China Gigafactory Shanghai
The Tesla Model Y is made in Fremont, USA and Shanghai, China now. Image Source:

Prices of the Tesla Model Y have gone down by up to INR 18.66 lakh in China as Tesla has started manufacturing the car at the Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai. Previously, it was had listed the compact electric SUV’s prices for an imported version sourced from its U.S. factory in Fremont.

The Tesla Model Y is available in China in a standard variant and a Performance variant, both featuring dual-motor all-wheel drive setup. Below is how the pricing differs:

Tesla Model Y variantImported Tesla Model Y priceLocally manufactured Tesla Model Y priceDifference
Standard AWDCNY 4,88,000 (INR 55.16 lakh)CNY 3,39,900 (INR 38.42 lakh)CNY 1,48,100 (INR 16.74 lakh)
Performance AWDCNY 5,35,000 (INR 60.48 lakh)CNY 3,69,900 (INR 41.82 lakh)CNY 1,65,100 (INR 18.66 lakh)

Tesla Model Y gets INR 6 lakh cheaper in the US, comes in 7-seat version

Tesla Model Y Standard Range
The Tesla Model Y is available even as a seven-seat SUV in the USA now. Image Source: Tesla

Earlier this month, the 7-seat and Standard Range options announced during the Tesla Model Y’s unveiling in March 2019 became available in the USA. With the launch of the Standard Range variant, the Tesla Model Y became $8,000 or close to INR 6 lakh cheaper in the brand’s home market.

The Tesla Model Y Standard Range’s price is $41,990, which converts to INR 30.81 lakh. That’s ridiculously cheap, and mind that this figure is the price before including any available state incentives. The Standard Range variant can go up to 244 miles/393 km (EPA est.) on a full charge, accelerate from 0-60 mph/0-97 km/h in 5.3 seconds, and achieve a top speed of 135 mph/217 km/h.

7-seat Tesla Model Y interior third row seats
The 7-seat Tesla Model 3 has two forward-facing seats in the third row. Image Source:

The 7-seat option in the Tesla Model Y is available in the new Standard Range variant and the Long Range variant, but not the Performance variant. It costs $3,000 (INR 2.2 lakh) and includes the following in the interior:

  • Third-row seating for two
  • Easy Entry into the third row
  • Third-row USB-C charging
  • Sliding second row with adjustable seatbacks
  • Fold-flat second and third rows for maximum cargo storage
  • Electronic fold-flat releases in the trunk

Nitin Gadkari says Tesla launch in India to happen in early 2021

With 2021 here, there’s excitement developing around the Tesla launch in India after years in the making. Mr Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, had told The Indian Express on 29 December 2020 that Tesla plans to “start operations” in the country in early 2021.

Gadkari suggested that Tesla will initially import cars to India via the CBU route and may consider assembling and manufacturing on the basis of the market response, and that’s precisely what the speculation has been so far. The official confirmation of the brand and sales launch is probably a few weeks away now.

Tesla bookings in India to commence soon

The Tesla Model 3 will be the first Tesla launched in India, and that will happen in June 2021, as per a report filed by ET Auto last month. A person in the know-how of the Tesla India launch plan told ET Auto that the Tesla Model 3 bookings in India will reopen (after originally in April 2016) this month (January 2021). The expected Tesla Model 3 price in India as per this source is approximately INR 55-60 lakh (ex-showroom). Tesla will sell cars in India directly to customers, and not conventionally via dealer showrooms.

Top view of the Tesla Model 3
If priced in the INR 55-60 lakh range, the Tesla Model 3 will look appealing to Lexus ES and BMW 5 Series buyers. Image Source: Tesla

Will India get its Tesla Model 3 from China?

With Tesla India’s order configurator set to go online shortly, there comes an important question: Will the first lot of the Tesla Model 3, which already has pre-orders from India, come from the USA or China?

Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai updates could be directly linked to the Tesla India launch, with initial imports possibly coming from the Chinese plant.

“Model Y (made in Shanghai) cost should be roughly equivalent to the Model 3 built in Fremont costs,” Elon Musk, co-founder & CEO, Tesla, had told analysts during the Q3 2020 results conference call.

The Tesla Model 3, along with the Model Y, will be the front-runner for the brand, as it is in other countries. With the base price expected in the INR 55-60 lakh (ex-showroom) range, we expect its rivals to be the BMW 5 Series, Lexus ES and Mercedes E Class ICE sedans, and the upcoming Volvo XC40 Recharge electric SUV.

Tesla Model 3 front three quarter view
The Model 3 manufactured in China is cheaper than the one made in the USA.

Image Source: Tesla

Even if Tesla India opts for local assembly, the knocked-down kits would have to come from Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai or Tesla Gigafactory Fremont, USA. There are some indications that Gigafactory Shanghai would be the facility making India-bound Model 3s, either as completed units, or in kits.

Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai began exports of the Tesla Model 3 to European countries including Switzerland, France, Italy, and Germany in October last year, and exports to Asian countries and Australia and New Zealand were expected to commence shortly thereafter. Note that Tesla has not confirmed the sourcing location for the India-bound model, but every electric vehicle in India today has a Chinese connection with respect to the battery cells, power electronics or the motor. The two important Indian electric vehicles launches in 2020 – Tata Nexon EV (battery and motor) & Bajaj Chetak (battery) – get their core electrical components from China.

Further, only the Model 3 made in Shanghai is available with a less expensive LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery in addition to the NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) battery options. The latter is more expensive and has a higher energy density. Interestingly though, the LFP Model 3 features a higher range of 468 km as compared to the NMC’s 445 km (NEDC testing cycle) as per information from China’s Ministry of Industry and IT. The cheaper LFP has resulted in a price cut to the Model 3, making it more accessible for Asian consumers.

Refreshed Model 3 launched in the U.S.

In October 2020, a refreshed Tesla Model 3 was introduced in the United States, which includes a new ‘chrome-delete’ option (replacing certain chrome panels on the exterior for body color parts), a powered liftgate/trunk, a different design for the center console (which now gets a sliding retractable door as compared to the older folding one) and improvements to range and performance.

Base Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus white front quarters
The 2021 Tesla Model 3 offers better range and performance, and a powered tailgate.

Image Source: Tesla

The Model 3 Standard Range gets a bump from 400 km to 420 km, the Model 3 Long Range from 515 km to 564 km, and Model 3 Performance from 478 km to 504 km (all EPA ratings). The 2021 Model 3 LR shaves 0.2 seconds in its 0-100 km/h sprint (4.2 seconds) and the 2021 Model 3 Performance saves 0.1 second (3.2 seconds).

We will update this story when more details are available.

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