Chinese Tesla Model Y Receives Government Approval, Trial Production Underway

MIC Tesla Model Y 13 photos
Photo: Tesla China
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At the present moment, the Model 3 is the only Tesla produced in China. The Palo Alto-based automaker recently obtained permission to sell the Shanghai-built Model Y as well, and trial production is underway to ensure that series production for the local market starts early in 2021.
Automotive News reports that “the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published the approval on its website on Monday.” The state agency has previously granted Tesla the rubber stamp for LFP batteries in the Model 3, which is a more affordable alternative to the NMC chemistry.

At the time of writing, two versions of the Model Y are available to order in the People’s Republic of China. The Long Range with dual-motor AWD starts at 488,000 yuan or $74,200 at current exchange rates while the top-of-the-line Performance is a bit more expensive at 535,000 yuan or $81,350.

Tesla doesn’t mention a thing about the battery chemistry in the locally-produced Model Y, but we’re probably dealing with nickel-manganese-cobalt cells instead of the more affordable lithium-iron-phosphate battery. As a brief refresher, LFP is exclusive to the rear-wheel-drive Model 3 SR+ which is rated at 468 kilometers (286 miles on the New European Driving Cycle).

Last week, Tesla signed a contract with South Korean supplier LG Chem for NCM batteries for the Chinese Model Y. Local media reports this chemistry for both versions of the electric crossover, but given time, LFP cells and rear-wheel drive may be combined to create a more affordable EV.

The maximum driving range for the Model Y is 505 kilometers (314 miles) in this part of the world. Top speed ranges from 217 to 241 kph (135 to 150 mph), and the acceleration to 100 kph (62 mph) for the Performance is estimated at 3.7 seconds with the 21-inch Uberturbine multi-spoke wheels.

As it's also the case in the United States, the most expensive optional extra of the Chinese Model Y is fully autonomous driving capability. Top-tier functions for the Autopilot system add 64,000 yuan ($9,735) to the tally.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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