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Tesla delivers first China cars, plans expansion

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 6:42 am

BEIJING – Tesla Motors delivered its first eight electric sedans to customers in China on Tuesday, and CEO Elon Musk said the company will build a nationwide network of charging stations and service centers as fast as it can.

Tesla probably will invest several hundred million dollars in charging infrastructure in China, Musk told reporters. He said it will open several hundred service centers.

“My instructions to the team are to spend money as fast as they can spend it without wasting it,” he said.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company previously announced a $121,000 sticker price for its Model S in China. It said import taxes and shipping account for the difference with its U.S. price tag of $81,000.

Customers received the first Model S sedans at a brief ceremony at Tesla’s office in a Beijing industrial park, also the site of its first Chinese charging station.

“I’m incredibly appreciative of customers like you for taking a chance on a new product from a new company,” Musk told them. “Without customers like you, we would have no chance.”

Chinese leaders want to develop an electric car industry and called in 2009 for annual sales of 500,000 electric cars by 2015 but have scaled back plans.

Musk said previously Tesla might sell 5,000 cars this year in China but emphasized Tuesday that was “just a guess.”