Tesla's really good at fueling the hype wagon, and comments from Tom Zhu, president of the automaker's operation in China, should send fans and those itching for a cheaper Tesla EV into a frenzy. On Monday, Zhu said in an interview with the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua Net (embedded above) that the upcoming will be sold globally. Last we checked, "globally" includes the US, so, yes, it sounds like we're getting the long-promised affordable Tesla.
In the interview, which you can watch with English subtitles, Zhu said the upcoming car will be, first and foremost, a car designed with China in mind. He said construction is underway on a-- the company's first outside of the US -- and the site will cover everything for this global model. "Vehicle design, vehicle engineering, vehicle development and vehicle testing" will all take place at the new facility, the executive added.
The R&D center is the starting point for the eventual rollout of a Chinese-made EV that Tesla wants to sell around the world, Zhu said, though he didn't provide details on what shape or form the car will take. CEO Elon Musk has on a couple occasions hinted it may and take the form of a . But Tesla also showed off a sketch of a in the past, which led to speculation this could be a much smaller car than a .
Musk years ago promised an affordable Tesla around $25,000, but reignited the promise last year, when he sounded a little more serious about launching such an EV. He said upcoming battery technology and manufacturing processes will be key to building a car so affordable. Said battery tech is likely a few years away, but in the meantime, it sounds like work is well underway for this affordable, global EV.
Tesla no longer operates a public relations department to field requests for further comment.