Tesla is reportedly preparing to release a Long Range variant of its Model 3 sedan in China, and it could hit the market for consumers as early as this week.
The vehicle would have 404 miles of range on a single charge under WLTP standards, or around 650 kilometers of driving distance when its battery pack is at full capacity. According to Bloomberg, the vehicle could start at about 350,000 yuan, or USD 49,674 as per information related by sources familiar with the matter. The exact price of the new car has not been determined, however.
Interestingly enough, a Model 3 with over 400 miles of range would be the first of its kind. The American Long Range and Performance variants of the vehicle both pack 322 miles of range, though it must be noted that these figures are estimates from the EPA, which tends to be more conservative than the WLTP.
It is unknown what drivetrain will be available on the new Chinese Model 3. While Tesla only has the LR AWD variant available to consumers in the United States, rumors circulated throughout the community that China had received an approval to sell the discontinued LR RWD variant of the car. This rumor went unconfirmed and was never solidified as fact by Tesla.
Tesla has proven it has the capability to inch closer to the 400-mile range mark with some of its vehicles. The Model S and X both received an update in early March that boosted the range of both cars. The Model S, however, is just nine miles away from reaching the 400-mile per charge mark, as the update increased its range from 373 miles to 391 miles, and that’s under the EPA standard too.
During the company’s 2019 Shareholder’s Meeting in January, CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla was close to having a car capable of 400-miles of range. “It will not be long before we have a 400-mile range car,” he said.
Giga Shanghai resumed operations on February 10 after a shutdown aimed at keeping employees safe from the COVID-19 virus was implemented after the Chinese New Year. Tesla has also opened some of its retail locations back up as the number of people infected in the country continues to fall. The company’s store in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been reopened as well.
China has given the electric vehicle industry quite a boost by allowing for the extension of EV subsidies for another two years. This could help entice some car buyers to encourage the idea of adding a battery electric vehicle to their garages by offering government subsidies that would decrease the cost of Teslas and other EVs for two more years.