Last year, almost to date, Tesla announced plans to set up a Chinese research and design center and said it was looking for local employees. While we don’t know if the coronavirus pandemic has pushed these plans into the background in 2020, a new Sunday report from Reuters shows Tesla is still thinking about China.
Tesla is looking for a head of design to run a Chinese design studio in Shanghai or Beijing, according to the publication. Citing three people familiar with the plans, the automaker wants to tackle an electric vehicle specifically designed for Chinese drivers. However, the company’s ideal candidate would be able to match the tastes of these drivers with what American drivers also like, according to the report’s sources.
The search was supposed to start in September last year, some candidates were interviewed, but the final decision has not yet been made. If the information is successful, the person will be in charge of a “full” studio to conduct market research and supervise the designers and modelers to create a Chinese electric vehicle.
Working on a car for China could spur CEO Elon Musk’s ambition to create a truly affordable electric car from the automaker – one that costs $ 25,000. The CEO wants such a car to be made in three years, but if a Chinese design studio provides the information, it is very likely that such a car will land as an urban compact. Small cars don’t have many friends in the United States, but they can also solve the Musk puzzle to better serve European drivers. But who knows, with the Tesla badge on it, perhaps Americans will queue up for an ultra-compact electric car.
While the process has been quiet so far, Reuters sources said they may hear more in the coming months, while Tesla hopes President-elect Joe Biden takes office and spells out the new government’s approach to China and its trade policies. Tesla doesn’t have a public relations department to respond to requests for comment, so we’ll have to wait and see.