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Tesla’s Chinese design centre open for recruitment

The upstart EV company has opened up recruitment for its planned design, research and development centre in Shanghai - its first such facility in China.

Tesla began Model 3 production at its first Chinese ‘Gigafactory’ (Shanghai’s’ Gigafactory 3) last autumn and started to deliver cars to customers this month. Establishing a manufacturing base in China allows the company to dramatically cut costs when manufacturing for and selling to the Chinese market - one of the biggest in the world for electric vehicles. The Model 3 is sold for ¥290,000: a significant discount on its previous price tag of ¥353,800. This is also partially due to exemption from the Chinese 10 per cent purchase tax.

Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk has credited the Chinese government with making possible Tesla’s rapidly growing presence in that country. Last week, during a visit to his Shanghai Gigafactory, Musk mentioned the possibility of carrying out some design work in the country, commenting that he could hire designers to build a “Chinese-style car”.

While Musk has gained a reputation for floating ambitious and sometimes off-the-wall ideas – often on Twitter – only to abandon them later, it appears that there is some substance to these plans. Tesla has opened up the search for local talent to join its R&D and design centre in Shanghai, posting about the search for employees on local social media channels alongside concept art of sleek Tesla vehicles.

According to a recruitment post on Tesla’s Weibo account, the new centre will contribute to the design of future Tesla vehicles. It is not clear whether these cars will be specifically for the Chinese market or for the global market.

Although Tesla’s first two Gigafactories were US-based, in Nevada and New York State, in recent years Musk has shown an ambition to bring Tesla’s automotive manufacturing to other regions. His $2bn Shanghai Gigafactory will be followed with a fourth Gigafactory a few miles north-west of Berlin, after plans for its first European manufacturing base were announced in November 2019.

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