(Adds more details of deal, background)
By Samuel Shen and Norihiko Shirouzu
SHANGHAI Aug 29 U.S. electric carmaker Tesla
Motors said on Friday that it would partner with
China's No.2 mobile carrier China Unicom to build
charging outlets across the country to push sales in the world's
biggest auto market.
The companies have signed a deal to build charging posts at
400 China Unicom stores in 120 cities, and will also set up
super-charging outlets in 20 Chinese cities, Tesla's China
spokeswoman Peggy Yang said.
Tesla's billionaire co-founder Elon Musk has said he expects
to invest hundreds of millions of dollars building charging
outlets in China as the company seeks to compete more
effectively with foreign rivals such as BMW and
Daimler AG and address Chinese customers' complaints
about belated product delivery.
"The deal represents our biggest investment so far in
charging facilities in China," Yang said in a telephone
Tesla previously struck deals with Chinese property
developers including Soho China Ltd and China Yintai
Holdings Ltd to build charging outlets.
A shortage of charging facilities has long been considered a
major roadblock to electric car sales in China, endangering
Beijing's ambition to put 5 million green vehicles on the road
By linking up with Unicom, which has stores nationwide,
Tesla can quickly service customers in most parts of China.
Tesla began delivering its Model S sedans in Beijing and
Shanghai in April.
The charging service will be for free and is only available
for Tesla vehicles, according to the Tesla China spokeswoman.
Rival BMW will deliver its electric sedan i3 and plug-in
hybrid i8 sports car next month, while Daimler will launch
premium electric car Denza later this year jointly with Chinese
carmaker BYD Co Ltd .
Palo Alto, California-based Tesla is barred by Chinese rules
from making cars in China unless it forms a joint venture with a
Tesla, which makes cars in a factory in the San Francisco
suburb of Fremont which once produced about 400,000 cars a year
for Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors when
the plant was owned and operated by the two Auto giants, is
still interested in making cars in China independently,
according to a China executive of Tesla who declined to be
But that is unlikely in the foreseeable future unless China
changes its current policy, he said.
(Additional reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Ryan Woo)