Elon Musk in China

Reports said Tesla's plan will bring China's "ambition to grow from the world's largest auto market into a true automotive heavyweight, bringing key technologies and opportunities for local parts makers".

A former Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) employee alleges there are serious problems afoot with his former employer.

Tesla is the first USA carmaker to trigger the reduced federal tax credit for electric vehicles, a phaseout triggered by it sales of 200,000 vehicles in the U.S.

But the announcement comes at a sensitive time US-Chinese trade relations.

According to Teslarati, a multi-platform company with a focus on everything that Musk has, vehicle production at "Gigafactory 3" would start two years after its construction begins.

In the past couple months, Tesla has ramped up production of the Model 3 and it became clearer that Tesla would reach the trigger first.

Trump has for years slammed what he describes as Beijing's underhand economic treatment of the United States, with the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China ballooning to a record USD375.2 billion last year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised to deliver an entry-level Model 3 with a range of 220 miles per charge and a starting price of $35,000 one day, but that configuration can't be ordered yet and the Tesla website says it will be six to nine months before it will be available.

The move triggered immediate and dollar-for-dollar retaliation by China.

China's fast-growing market for new-energy vehicles presents a massive growth opportunity for Tesla.

"I think that you'll see something similar to what they did in Nevada, with a partner like Panasonic", said Mr Kallo, referring to the gigafactory that Tesla and its Japanese battery-cell supplier operate along near Reno.

For Tesla, speculation in recent weeks about whether Elon Musk's EV maker has or hasn't reached that figure was almost as ripe as whether it would be able to reach the 5,000-per-week Model 3 production target.

Tesla's losses increased by 97.5 per cent to just under $785 million in the first quarter of 2018, despite the fact that earnings rose by 26.4 per cent to more than $3.4 billion. But Tesla faces growing competition from Chinese and foreign brands that are developing dozens of electric models.

  • Eleanor Harrison