Tesla to modify new cars to China’s charging standards

Bloomberg News

Tesla Motors Inc. said it will modify its vehicles to fit China’s national charging standards, the latest move by the electric-car maker to boost sales in the world’s largest auto market.

Tesla will fully support China’s charging standards when they are released and ensure that its vehicles are compatible, the company said in a statement posted on its Chinese website.

Concerns over access to charging will ease with the development of charging infrastructure over the next few years, the company said.

Sales of electric vehicles have been hampered by “range anxiety,” or the fear of running out of electricity while on the road, a challenge exacerbated by the incompatibility of Tesla’s vehicles to the charging facilities built by China’s State Grid.

Tesla owners and prospective buyers have cited the logistics of powering the vehicles as a key concern despite the company building its biggest charging network outside the U.S.

“Solving the charging issue is vital to the promotion of electric vehicles,” Tesla’s China General Manager Zhu Xiaotong said in the May 11 statement. “Tesla will devote our utmost efforts to assist the drafting of Chinese charging standards and construction of public charging infrastructure to build a network that has the widest coverage.”

Tesla is rushing to expand its network of charging stations to assuage range anxiety, add luxury features that suit local tastes and retrain a sales force that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk previously described as “brain-dead.”

The company has seen “encouraging signs of a return to growth in orders” in China, though there is still work to do, Musk said in a May 6 letter to shareholders.

China hasn’t given a timetable on introducing its electric-vehicle charging standards.