Tesla Model S priced at $121,000 in China, as Elon Musk anticipates big gains in Asia

tesla headed china potentially asia market assembly plant 7446033906 962231837e o

We’re not surprised that the Chinese are anxiously awaiting the launch of the Tesla Model S this spring. After all, China is currently the fastest-growing luxury vehicle market on the planet, and pressure from the government to reduce emissions should lead people to consider upscale cars with smaller environmental footprints. What is surprising, however, is how quickly Tesla’s billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, anticipates Chinese demand for the Model S to match the demand here in the U.S.

Tesla Motors will begin selling the Model S in China in March. According to Automotive News, Musk mentioned that China “could be as big as the U.S. market, maybe bigger.” If demand for premium electric vehicles swells as quickly as is anticipated, Tesla may seek plans to produce the Model S locally for the Chinese market. 

The Model S for the Chinese market will cost as much as 50 percent more than it does in the U.S. Much of the price increase comes from current shipping costs and export taxes. For example, a Tesla Model S with the 85 kWh battery pack starts around $81,000 in the U.S., but it’ll cost closer to $121,000 in China. Even that price is considered well under what Tesla could charge, though; the automaker could charge as much as $160,000 per car, and remain consistent with standard industry practices.

That, however, isn’t the game Musk wants to play. “They’re basically calling us huge idiots for not ripping off customers in China.” Musk said. “I don’t think ripping off customers is a good long-term strategy.” Other foreign companies have been challenged by the Chinese for their increased prices, and it would seem that the folks at Tesla are trying to dodge that bullet. If Tesla manufactured the Model S in China, there’s a chance that the cost savings could result in making the car even more affordable in the future.

For now, Tesla faces the biggest challenge with the relatively weak infrastructure of electric vehicle charging stations. Once owning an electric car becomes more practical to the masses, the company may be able to focus on developing a plan to build the car overseas, with the same rigorous standards the company uses stateside.

After all, the Model S remains the highest-rated vehicle in Consumer Reports’ history, and that’s a medal the brand wouldn’t want to lose.


Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that’s coming to the U.S.

The Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that will be marketed in the United States by California-based Mullen Technologies. The carbon-fiber bodied, 402-horsepower K50 is expected to go on sale in 2020.

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

Genesis’ all-electric Mint concept proves small cars can still be stylish

Unveiled ahead of the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Genesis Mint concept is a future electric city car with scissor doors in place of a traditional hatchback. Genesis likely won't put it into production, however.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.

Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.