Tesla's Aggressive Price Drop in China Makes Sense

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is reducing its prices in several regions
Tesla is reducing its prices in several regions
Tesla (edited by Not a Tesla App)

Tesla stock price is down, deliveries missed expectations last quarter, and significant price drop — in China. Those are the major concerns swirling around the electric car manufacturer as investors took to Twitter to complain about the slash in prices overseas. However, there is a significant difference between the EV market in China compared to most other regions worldwide, especially North America.

Tesla dominates the market almost everywhere, except China. Unlike the dinosaurs in the North American automotive sector, Chinese car manufacturers have been developing and producing electric vehicles for a long time. While Tesla has had countries like the United States and Canada all to themselves for buyers wanting an electric vehicle, it’s not so easy in China. Telsa has to convince consumers to try something other than the BYD Song Plus or the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.

Tesla has Competition in China

BYD started up in China in 2003, and by 2008 it was building the best-selling hybrid cars in the country. In 2009, several years after the carmaker achieved the top sales in the country. BYD was then converted to a fully electric vehicle, making it much easier for buyers to adapt to EVs while sticking with the brand they already trusted.

Then there is the horrendously ugly and ridiculously cheap Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. At a starting point of $4,500, anyone can hope no one sees them in this EV. The automaker hit the China market hard starting in 2020 and has not surpassed 500,000 deliveries.

Tesla’s main competitors have two particularly important advantages, BYD has brand loyalty, and Wuling Hongguang Mini EV is cheap. Therefore, it only makes sense that Tesla is aggressive. The Model 3 is now the cheapest it has ever been in China, and the Model Y has become much more affordable.

Tesla Cuts Prices

The company already dropped prices a few months ago, and now it's dropping them again. A RWD Model 3 is now $33,500 USD, when it was nearly $39,000; the same car in the United States goes for about $47,000. The RWD Model Y (not available in North America) is now $37,800 USD, down from about $42,000.

Following the announcement in China, Tesla has followed with reducing the prices in several other regions as well. The prices of the Model 3 and Model Y have been reduced in Australia, with price reductions in the 2-4% range, depending on the model.

In addition to China and Australia, Japan is also seeing the price of the Model Y reduced by up to 10%.

While these prices may be tough to swallow for someone in North America, consider that Tesla constantly changes prices to match what the market will pay. This practice has removed the slimy car salesman tactics that plagued the industry for decades. So, while it may seem unfair, Tesla owners must understand that the company doing well in all markets worldwide is vital to its survival as more competition emerges.

It's also possible that we'll see some price reductions in the U.S. as well. With the EV tax credit going into effect this January, Tesla aims to allow as many models to qualify as possible.

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 Launches; Adds EV Charger Ratings Using Rivian Data

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 launched yesterday, and there are some pretty awesome features coming to all EV owners courtesy of Rivian. Rivian purchased ABRP last year and has made good on its promises to continue its improvement and ensure it remains open to all EV owners.

Charger Scoring

Rivian recently added a feature that would rate any chargers compatible with Rivian vehicles. The list of chargers includes Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) chargers, Tesla Superchargers and any other compatible third-party chargers. The charger score is automatically calculated based on the station's average top speed and reliability.

With the launch of ABRP 5.0, Rivian is integrating its charger scores directly into the free tier of ABRP so that all EV owners can benefit. ABRP users will now be able to see charger scores, and ABRP will automatically route users to chargers with higher scores if they are available on your route.

Google Automotive

Another cool feature for ABRP is that it will now be available as an app to install and use directly in vehicles that support Google Automotive. Any EV that uses Google Automotive, including Volvo,  Polestar, Ford, and GM will support the in-system experience, which will also provide data for charger scoring and routing.

This will be an excellent way to hold third-party networks accountable, which have commonly suffered from uptime or speed issues.

Tesla’s Implementation

Tesla previously implemented a “Qualified Third-Party Charger” program, that would allow highly-rated third-party chargers that meet a strict set of requirements to be displayed directly in the vehicle. However, this is currently limited to Europe and parts of the Middle East. Within North America, Tesla only displays third-party Tesla destination chargers in addition to Superchargers.

While Tesla doesn’t directly show charger scores, they clearly are tracking charge data, and are providing the cream of the crop of third-party chargers for navigation where the program is available. We’d hope that this implementation of qualified third-party chargers also comes to North America, as NACS is becoming the de facto standard for charging.

If Tesla does expand the display of third-party chargers to other regions, it’ll likely be similar to what we see in Europe today, and won’t be as open as Rivian’s implementation in ABRP.

Tesla Begins Testing FSD in China

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla was recently granted permission to test FSD on Chinese streets – specifically in Shanghai. Just recently, Elon Musk visited China and discussed the potential for FSD to come to China.

Gearing Up for FSD China

This is just the first step for Tesla to begin its customer deployments of FSD – Tesla conducts similar ADAS testing in North America, where special testing vehicles and testing employees run the latest FSD (Supervised) versions against a gamut of real-world, real-life tests.

Tesla has recently been working on translating FSD release notes into multiple languages, alongside building a data center in Shanghai and establishing an FSD Operations and Labelling team at the same center. These are the first, key steps to bringing FSD to a new market that has unique and different traffic rules when compared North America.

China doesn’t have the regulatory hurdles or challenges that Tesla faces in Europe to bring FSD and has been working with Chinese corporations as well as the government, which has now provided its official approval for FSD testing in-country.

We might even see FSD deployed to early testing customers in China by the end of 2025.

ADAS Competitors

There are quite a few competitors in the Chinese market already- with challengers like Xpeng and Xiaomi working on building their own homegrown systems, mostly driven by a mixture of cameras, radars, ultrasonic sensors, and LIDAR. However, many of these systems face similar challenges to other non-Chinese competitors and don’t have the mileage under their belts to tackle Tesla’s dominating lead in data and data processing.

European Union

Tesla is poising itself for an FSD rollout internationally, with increased testing also taking place in the UK, France, and Spain – some of the key locations with unique infrastructure in the European Union. However, some EU-specific regulations restrict how FSD can perform – each and every action must be manually approved by the driver. Until that regulation is changed to adapt to systems like FSD, it won’t be making its way there just yet.

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