Last month Tesla shut down its assembly line for three weeks in order to retool for expanded production of the Model S and the impending debut of the Model X. It’s a good thing too, because according to Street Insider, Tesla Model S reservations have reached 4,000 in China despite a lack of government incentives.
That’s the word from Goldman Sachs analyst Peter Armchambaul, who also said Tesla is working to secure a place in the next round of EV incentives. Any such incentives will likely hinge on local production, which CEO Elon Musk has already mentioned as a distinct possibility. Even without those incentives, Tesla sales are doing pretty well in the quasi-communist state, following Musk’s cautious optimism.
Model S buyers in China are asked to make a significant down payments to secure their build date; in this case an initial payment of about $2,444, followed by a $40,700 deposit to begin the building process. The Tesla Model S costs quite a bit more ($121,000 starting MSRP) in China due to import duties and taxes, but this is over a 40% down payment compared with the 10% Tesla asks of American customers. To put it another way, there are 4,000 very serious Tesla buyers waiting in line to get their cars.
Add to those 4,000 Chinese reservations another 20,000 Model X reservations from all over the world, and the electric automaker has a busy few months ahead of it. Elon Musk projects the Tesla factory can more than double its output in 2015, producing as many as 75,000 EVs, which is just a pit stop on to his ultimate goal of annual production reaching a half-million electric vehicles.
There are still a number of obstacles, especially in China, that Tesla has to overcome. But you can’t deny that things are looking for the electric automaker.