Tesla has introduced a redesigned Model 3 manufactured in China, featuring an extended driving range.
This marks the first instance of the company unveiling a new model in China before its debut in the United States.
Produced at Tesla’s Shanghai factory, the new Model 3 comes with a 12% higher starting price compared to the previous base model in China.
Furthermore, this model will be exported to various markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Simultaneously, Tesla has reduced prices for its premium models, the Model S and Model X, by around 14% to 21% in both China and the U.S., its primary markets.
By increasing the base price for the Model 3, which is Tesla’s best-selling model after the Model Y, the company aims to safeguard profit margins.
However, the price reductions for the higher-end models underscore the ongoing challenges electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers face, particularly in China, where Tesla had previously initiated a price war with local competitors like BYD.
This latest iteration of the Model 3 represents Tesla’s first modification to its mass-market vehicle lineup since the successful launch of the Model Y in 2020.
Although Tesla has yet to announce a release date for the new Model 3 in the U.S., the company is currently offering significant discounts on existing inventory vehicles.
The Model 3 is also assembled in Fremont, California.
The debut of the updated Model 3 is scheduled to take place at a trade fair in Beijing, showcasing features tailored to appeal to Chinese consumers.
Enhancements include a rear display for back-seat passengers, improved acoustic systems, a more comfortable interior, additional airbags, and subtle exterior design changes.
Notably, the new Model 3 boasts a longer driving range, with the standard version offering a range of 606 km (377 miles) based on China’s testing standards.
This represents a 9% increase compared to the previous base model in China. Tesla has begun accepting orders and plans to commence deliveries in China during the fourth quarter.
Orders are also being accepted in other markets where the vehicle is exported from the Shanghai factory.
While experts anticipate strong sales for the new Model 3 outside China due to reduced competition, the domestic market presents a different scenario, with several new EV models already introduced with similar or superior features and lower prices.
Tesla’s move to launch the revamped Model 3, known internally as “Highland,” aims to reduce production costs and enhance the model’s appeal.
Although details about the new Model 3’s battery remain undisclosed, sources suggest it uses the same lithium-iron-phosphate battery from CATL as the base model.
The increased driving range is attributed to weight reduction and improved aerodynamics.
In China, the Model 3 faces competition from vehicles like BYD’s Seal, Geely’s Zeekr 001, Nio’s ET5, and Xpeng’s P7i.
Xpeng has even introduced zero-interest loans and free upgrades for its offering.
Tesla plans to showcase the new Model 3 at the Munich auto show, potentially overshadowing German automakers’ EV announcements as they respond to China’s evolving market.
The new Model 3 is priced at 259,900 yuan ($35,807) in China and starts at 42,990 euros ($46,670) in Germany. European deliveries are set to commence in late October.