Tesla plans to build a network of car charging stations in China

US electric car manufacturer plans to link major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 5:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2015, 12:03pm

Tesla announced yesterday that the US-based electric vehicle company plans to build a charging network in China.

The network of superchargers will be similar to ones that Tesla is building in the US and planning to develop in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It will serve drivers traveling between major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, and Tesla owners will be allowed to use the charging stations free of charge.

Diarmuid O'Connell, vice president of corporate and business development for the California company, told reporters that Tesla had received a "tremendous" reception in China.

He did not give a timeline for the lofty network project, only saying that Tesla was already in talks with electric companies and property owners.

Previously, local Chinese media reports on Tesla's expansion in the mainland pointed out that owning an electric car such as Tesla's Model S would be difficult in China due to a lack of public charging stations.

Tesla's plans for a charging network seem aimed at rectifying this, and while the company's cars can be charged at home, the charging network would make long distance drives possible.

Tesla’s Model S sedans are due to hit mainland roads sometime in March, and the vehicle is currently available for test drives and customer demonstrations in Hong Kong.

In July of 2013, Tesla received over 300 pre-orders for the Model S vehicle in Hong Kong - a figure that surpasses the current number of electric cars in the city.

China has been pushing electric vehicles for several years now, but progress has so far been stagnant due to infrastructure problems. Currently, the mainland's biggest electric car maker is BYD, which Tesla says doesn’t have any models competing in the same segment of the market.

Additional reporting by Jeremy Blum