China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology cleared the longer-range Model 3 for production on Friday, Reuters reported. Tesla didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The electric sedan should go 372 miles on a charge, compared to the Model 3 Standard Range's 250-mile range estimate locally. The Long Range variant will be the second Model 3 variant for local Chinese production following the Standard Range, which began production this past January.
Eventually, Tesla plans to also produce the Model Y SUV in China as well, and teased plans to design and develop China-specific EVs. Despite the grand plans ahead, Tesla's inaugural production year locally has been anything but smooth.
Tesla's Model 3 simplifies the EV 54 Photos
Shortly after production of the Model 3 kicked off in China, the country began to deal with a massive outbreak of the coronavirus. Eventually, the state government ordered businesses to shut down temporarily, a ding to the firm's ramp-up. Registration data also showed a slow in EV sales before the virus outbreak.
On Thursday, Tesla also acknowledge it outfitted locally made Model 3 sedans with outdated Autopilot hardware. Buyers took to social media to voice concerns after Tesla originally said the cars would come with Autopilot hardware 3.0, though quickly, they discovered hardware 2.5 was actually onboard. The older hardware keeps the car from various features, such as traffic light recognition. The automaker blamed the hiccup on its supply chains, even though every Tesla since April 2019 features hardware 3.0.