The Tesla Model 3 has officially launched in China, but they're a smidge expensive for now.
While Tesla has been taking orders since January, the first vehicles are finally making their way to owners. The first two versions made available were Tesla's most expensive: The all-wheel-drive Model 3 Performance costs 560,000 yuan (about $83,000), while the long-range AWD version costs 499,000 yuan (about $74,000).
That's just a bit pricier than the US, where the Performance costs $62,000 and the long-range AWD variant costs $51,000. However, Tesla is now also taking orders in China for a long-range variant with rear-wheel drive, coming in a bit cheaper at 433,000 yuan (about $64,000). That version is no longer offered in the US. All three variants on Tesla's Chinese Model 3 website estimate a delivery in March.
Building cars in the US and shipping them to China is expensive, not even accounting for vehicle tariffs that have risen as the trade war between the two nations continues. Prices should come down once Tesla launches its factory in Shanghai, though. The company hasfor it, and it will be responsible for the Model 3, that will share its platform. Tesla's production estimates for its Shanghai factory have wavered between 250,000 and 500,000 cars per year.
It's unclear if Tesla plans to introduce the cheaper midrange battery pack in China. In the US, it costs $44,000 and offers about 50 fewer miles than the long-range battery (264 miles vs. 310). It replaced the RWD long-range variant as the cheapest Model 3 on offer -- until that fabled $35,000 short-range version finally decides to show up. Tesla said that version is estimated to arrive in the first half of 2019, but it's already pushed that goalpost back in the past.