New Tesla small car teased in China

A potential new small Tesla model has been revealed on the China-only Wechat social-media network

New small Tesla

Tesla has announced plans to build a new design studio and R&D centre in China, which could result in a Chinese-designed and built hatchback-like Tesla model being sold globally.

A potential design for the car was revealed in a sketch posted to China’s WeChat instant-messaging and social-media network, showing something smaller than the company's current Model 3, Model S and Model X offerings.

The post suggested Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, China, would be up and running in 10 months' time, using the words: “Let us usher in the long-awaited ‘Made in China’ Tesla”.

The teaser image came as part of a call for applicants to work at the new facility in China. In the announcement, Tesla said it wanted to incorporate “the most beautiful Chinese art" into its future models.

It’s not clear what segment the sleek new pure-electric model might sit in, nor which cars it might compete with, but the design sketch hints at the firm’s smallest model yet. It follows Tesla CEO Elon Musk telling shareholders 18 months ago that: “I think we’ll do a compact car in less than five years.”

The design sketch shows a familiar Tesla face and blanked-out grille, as well as sharp surfacing and a sloping roofline. There are no handles or shut lines, so it’s not clear whether this would be a two-door model in the spirit of a Smart EQ ForTwo, or a larger, five-door car like the Renault Zoe. There's a chance it could be bigger still, designed to take on cars like the new Volkswagen ID.3, due later this year.

What's clear, however, is that despite this being a car designed (and possibly built) in China, it'll be a global car that should eventually be sold in Europe and the US. Roughly translated, the WeChat post said: “In the end, it will be interpreted as an original Chinese Tesla, and go global.”

This confirms a recent statement by Musk to customers at the launch of the Tesla Model Y SUV, in which he suggested that the new R&D centre would look to design an original car in China for worldwide consumption, saying: “I think it should be done, and we’re gonna do it.”

Other new Tesla models on the way include the Cybertruck pickup, Roadster high-end sports car and Semi heavy goods vehicle.

Recommended

Tesla Cybertruck: Elon Musk reaffirms production will start in 2023
Tesla Cybertruck
Tesla

Tesla Cybertruck: Elon Musk reaffirms production will start in 2023

8 Jun 2022
Tesla Supercharger network: complete guide to Tesla charging stations
Tesla Superchargers
Tesla

Tesla Supercharger network: complete guide to Tesla charging stations

23 May 2022
Tesla Supercharger network opens to other EVs in the UK
Hyundai Ioniq 5 Tesla Supercharger
Tesla

Tesla Supercharger network opens to other EVs in the UK

18 May 2022
Tesla Semi truck: specs, price and on-sale date
Tesla Semi
Tesla

Tesla Semi truck: specs, price and on-sale date

8 Apr 2022

Most Popular

Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2022
Best seven-seater electric and hybrids
Best cars

Top 10 best seven-seater electric and hybrid cars 2022

If the regular crop of electrified SUVs and family cars don’t provide enough practicality for you, then take a closer look at the range of electric an…
15 Jun 2022
Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022
Cheapest electric cars 2022
Electric

Top 10 cheapest electric cars 2022

Contrary to popular opinion, not all electric cars are expensive. Here are the cheapest ones available in the UK right now
15 Jun 2022
New electric cars coming in 2022 and beyond
Polestars under cover
Coming soon

New electric cars coming in 2022 and beyond

With electric cars making up an ever-increasing proportion of sales, the industry is working flat out to launch new models – here's what's on the way …
24 Jun 2022