US-based carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. aims to ramp up its mainland expansion plans and sales of its electric cars by sending chief executive Elon Musk to China for face-to-face talks this month with the top brass of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) (00386.HK, 600028.CN).
The likely outcome is a partnership between the two firms that will allow Tesla to install charging stations at Sinopec gas stations, financial website Aastocks.com reported Monday. Musk is on the record as saying that China will probably replace the United States as the biggest market for Tesla early next year.
At the same time, the state-owned oil giant is keen to get moving on the charging station business and could soon open test sites in Beijing for 2-in-1 electric and gas stations, the report said.
Tesla said it will provide on-site installation services for its fast-charging stations and set up service and repair centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu, the Beijing Times said in an earlier report.
It is also planning to build a network of charging centers along highways between major mainland cities, with the first deliveries of Tesla cars expected this summer, the report said.
News website jrj.com reported last month that Tesla is likely to partner with a subsidiary of State Grid Corp. of China to develop a battery charging solution for its electric motor cars. But sources close to the US company said it is not looking for just recharging facilities but rather a complete range of solutions to meet the needs of its customers across China.
Homegrown manufacturer BYD Co. Ltd. (01211.HK) is the other major player in China’s green car market, but it has mapped out a different route, observers said. BYD is aiming for mid-market buyers and is expanding in first-tier cities through partnerships with public transport companies.
Tesla, meanwhile, is pushing into the luxury segment by setting up many charging stations in coastal cities to serve individual customers. Both strategies seem to be on a roll in China but more time is needed to see which one will ignite the greatest market share.
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