Could Tesla build EVs in China as soon as 2017?

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A 25-percent import tariff can certainly make an automaker take notice (to wit: Toyota). In Tesla's case, that means getting production capabilities on the ground in China as soon as possible. According to Bloomberg News, that could mean 2017. Or maybe not.

Bloomberg, citing comments by Tesla chief Elon Musk made at Beijing's Geekpark Conference earlier this week, said the California-based maker of the Model S electric sedan may start making vehicles in China as soon as 2017 or 2018. Musk also envisions a substantial charging network throughout cities such as Beijing and Shanghai and obviously thinks the current Chinese resistance to plug-in vehicles will pass. The California-based automaker delivered its first nine Model S EVs in China this week.

Of course, Musk has a way with hyperbole, and when contacted by AutoblogGreen, a company representative toned down such a timeframe.

"We hope that local production in China is in Tesla's future so that we can manufacture our vehicles where they are sold," wrote Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen. "We aren't likely to produce cars in China within the next three to four years, however, nor are we currently in any serious discussions to do so."

By making cars in China, Tesla, which opened a showroom in Beijing late last year, would avoid the 25 percent import tax China enforces on foreign-made vehicles. As it is, Tesla is pricing the 85-kilowatt hour version of the Model S at about $118,000 in China. That's about $47,000 higher than the US base price, but it's actually kind of "aggressive." Musk has said Tesla will sell as many as 5,000 vehicles in China this year, while Tesla executives have said they expect China to account for a third of Tesla's global sales this year and as much as half next year. Tesla sold about 22,300 vehicles in the US last year.

Tesla has also started leasing the Model S in Switzerland for roughly $750 a month. Read more details in the press release below.
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Tesla and Sixt Leasing Announce Strategic Partnership in Switzerland

ZURICH, April 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

´╗┐Swiss Customers Can Drive Model S for About CHF 660 per month, After Fuel and Tax Savings in Multiple Cantons

Leasing Offer Includes Annual Service Performed by Tesla

Tesla today announced an expansion of its strategic relationship with Sixt Leasing. Now Model S customers in Switzerland, as well as Germany, can benefit from compelling lease offers from Sixt Leasing. Swiss customers can obtain a lease offer from Sixt Leasing that results in the effective and attractive cost of driving a Model S of about CHF 660 per month, including annual service performed by Tesla.

Customers who lease a Model S with Sixt Leasing will enjoy exceptionally low monthly payments, annual service, and the unique cost advantages for driving Model S, such as free use of Tesla's Supercharger network and an exemption from Switzerland's annual road tax. With 10% down on a 36 month lease, Sixt currently offers payments of approximately CHF 810 - 950* per month, depending on the mileage selected by the customer. Driving a Tesla Model S can save customers up to CHF 300 per month in fuel and tax savings compared to other premium internal combustion vehicles, resulting in a potential effective cost of driving Model S of about CHF 660 per month.

The unique cost advantages of driving a Model S in Switzerland include:
                         Savings per     Advantages         Month                   Explanation                                      Savings from driving with electricity                                     vs. gasoline, including access to                                     Tesla's free Supercharging Network, and     Fuel Savings      CHF 100 - 260 10,000 - 25,000 kilometres per year                                      Electric vehicles are exempt from annual                                     road tax in certain cantons including     Road Tax Savings  Up to CHF 40  Zurich, Geneva and Ticino. 
"We're pleased to offer attractive financing deals to our Swiss customers," said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. "After a successful launch in Germany, we're looking forward to extending our partnership with Sixt Leasing to Switzerland."

Every lease with Sixt Leasing includes Tesla Service at no cost to the customer. Customers living throughout Switzerland now can enjoy the thrill of driving Model S with the security of service directly from Tesla, including 24 hour roadside assistance.

*Non-binding sample calculations from Sixt Leasing (Schweiz) AG, Schwarzwaldalle 242, 4050 Basel, for a Tesla Model S 60 kWh, based on a retail price of CHF 71.900,00; incl. 8 % VAT, leasing duration 36 months, max. mileage 15'000 km p.a., with a down payment of CHF 7.190,00 and registration and administration fees amounting to CHF 500,00 paid separately. Calculation based on estimated savings relating to fuel, supercharging and road tax. Offers subject to confirmation; additional expenses arise for liability and full coverage insurances. The assignment of the above-mentioned offers and the terms and conditions of the contracts are under the sole responsibility of Sixt Leasing (Schweiz) AG. Granting of the lease is forbidden if it leads to the indebtedness of the lessee. Further details are laid down in the contracts. For inquiries contact your Tesla store. Please find on this website the cantonal road tax savings for electric vehicles:

Tesla Model S Information

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