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Tesla to build charging poles at Minsheng Bank outlets

2014-10-15 13:57 Global Times Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Electric car maker to set up at least 400 in 20 cities

US luxury electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc and China Minsheng Bank announced Tuesday that they will construct at least 400 charging poles at the bank's outlets in 20 Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, news portal cnstock.com reported.

The report did not give a timeframe for when the project will be started and completed. China Minsheng Bank is China's first nationwide joint stock commercial bank with shares mainly from non-public enterprises.

Experts say the move will help boost the use of electric cars in China.

Gao Jian, an industry analyst at Shanghai-based consultancy LMC Automotive, believed cooperating with established names is an effective and competitive strategy for Tesla.

"The partners Tesla chose have been relentless over the years in opening up branches at valuable urban locations in a great number of Chinese cities. Tesla immediately gains access to these existing venues via the deal with China Minsheng Bank, saving handsomely in investment in terms of both time and money," Gao told the Global Times.

Tesla's partners could benefit from the expected influx of high-end customers that own Tesla cars, Gao said.

As of June, China Minsheng Bank has over 4,000 community-level outlets, according to the report by cnstock.com.

On August 29, Tesla signed a similar deal with China -Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile carrier by subscribers, to build charging posts at 400 China Unicom outlets in 120 cities, and will also set up super charging stations in 20 Chinese cities

Gao said the speed and scale in which Tesla has effectively promoted the use of electric cars can serve as an example to Chinese auto companies.

"As Tesla's co-founder Elon Musk said, Tesla is a company open to cooperation, such as sharing some of its core technologies, so as to expedite the arrival of the electric car era," he said.

"This partly explained why Chinese companies are not so effective in driving the growth of revolutionary products at industry scale. Chinese firms tend to refuse to share their technology they deem profitable."

Tesla said its charging facilities will adopt specifications aligned to China's national standards, once these standards are made, which means theoretically Tesla charging poles could in the future charge cars produced by other brands in China, news portal eeo.com.cn reported on July 24, citing a senior company executive.

Currently, Tesla has already built over 400 charging poles around China. Besides China Minsheng Bank and China Unicom, Tesla has struck deals with Chinese property developers including SOHO China and China Yintai Holdings on the construction of charging outlets.

German premium automaker BMW has two models of electric cars available in the country, and automaker Daimler will launch its Denza premium electric car later this year in cooperation with Chinese carmaker BYD, Reuters reported.

However, Tesla and its peers have to do more to woo consumers in China, the world's largest auto market.

"There is a growing number of people from the entrepreneur community who commute between major cities on a regular basis," Han Bing, CEO of Beijing-based auto accessory shopping site chetour.com, told the Global Times Tuesday.

They would be happy to see charging poles being extended to gas pumps and service stations along the national highways and in more second- and third-tier cities, said Han.

He noted that a wide network of repair shops should also follow.

As the charging facility bottleneck is being tackled, Gao said the growth potential of the high-end market, which will be dominated by foreign luxury brands, would be strong as these cars are treated like a status symbol and as these cars won't be rich customers' first or only car, customers are more tolerant with the mileage issue and current charging -difficulties.

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