Tesla to unveil 400-mile range Model 3 as production ramps up in China
Tesla has placed a new electric vehicle (EV) onto the Chinese market with a driving range of more than 400 miles, with the firm's Shanghai facilities now manufacturing more vehicles than before the shutdown caused in the country by the coronavirus.
Bloomberg had reported that Tesla planned to unveil a Model 3 sedan with a longer driving range. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range RWD is being locally built in China and is currently only available in that country. It features a single charge driving range of 415 miles. In comparison, global offerings of the Tesla Model 3 EV come with a range of around 320 miles.
Website Tesmanian has since reported that more than 20,000 of the new models may have been ordered in China during a 24-hour period.
Tesla has estimated that its EV stock has collectively travelled around 10 billion miles, as of April 2019. Were this distance covered by petrol or diesel cars, the company claims that an additional four million tonnes of CO2 would have been emitted.
The vehicle forms the third stage of Tesla’s strategy to make EVs a mainstream proposition for the average car buyer. A four-step plan will see Tesla build on the success of its EV portfolio by extending the electrification process to heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport.
Tesla was able to resume production at its Shanghai plant in February, following shutdowns imposed due to the coronavirus. According to the company, the Shanghai plant has now surpassed production capacity before the shutdown, with the plant now able to produce around 3,000 vehicles a week.
The firm’s factory in Fremont, California, has shut down, while it's New York factory is halting production of all vehicles and parts except “those necessary for service, infrastructure and critical supply chains”.
Tesla has not said when either location will return to a full operation but has reassured staff and investors that the suspensions are temporary.
The decision was taken, Tesla said in a statement, due to the “challenges” which the pandemic has caused to “employees, their families and suppliers”. On the latter, Tesla notably has extensive supply chains in China and Germany. Moreover, Panasonic is this week scaling down operations at the Nevada-based battery Gigafactory it operates in a joint venture with Tesla, before initiating a 14-day shutdown.
In Europe, Tesla's plan to build a new Gigafactory for EV production in Germany has been temporarily halted by a court order concerning the clearance of more than 90 hectares of forest in Brandenburg.
Germany's environment ministry had given Tesla permission to begin work on its first European Gigafactory, despite the carmaker not receiving planning permission to do so. In response, local environmental group the Grüne Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg), filed a court complaint about tree-felling on the site.
The state of Brandenburg sold a 300-hectare site in Grünheide for around £34m (€41m) and Tesla started cutting trees across one-third of the site In February. Tesla wants to start EV production in Brandenburg next year, with plans in place to produce 150,000 vehicles annually. Production could increase to up to 500,000 vehicles.