CHONGQING, CHINA – Over the years, Tesla – the noted electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer owned by business magnate Elon Musk – has been formed to contend with Chinese companies putting out what are basically “clones” of their various models. These imitators will often copy Tesla’s designs, engines, digital user interfaces, and – at one point in time – even the layout of Tesla’s official website.
Currently, Tesla is suing a former employee of Chinese automaker Xpeng, alleging that the individual in question had stolen plans for Tesla’s Autopilot software, which enables both partial and full self-driving capabilities for the EV.
This situation is still proving to be the case up until this very day, as Changan Automobile – Chinese state-owned automobile manufacturer headquartered in Jiangbei, Chongqing – has introduced the Shenlan SL03, essentially a clone of the Tesla Model 3 that was developed in conjunction with Electronics giant Huawei and battery cell manufacturer CATL, a frequent supplier of Tesla’s batteries.
The resemblance between the Shenlan SL03 and Tesla Model 3 is especially apparent when it comes to the EV’s front end design and overall dimensions. While the Shenlan measures 4 inches longer than the Model 3, it has the exact same wheelbase, width, and height.
The strong similarities carry over to the interior, where both models share a minimalistic design aesthetic and large horizontal dashboard display screens, featuring strikingly comparable digital user interfaces, quite possibly the most-copied aspect of Tesla’s vehicles by Chinese clones.
However, the big difference between the two vehicles is the price, as the Model 3 has a base Chinese MSRP of $40,000 before add-ons, whereas the Shenlan SL03 starts at just $26,000.
The base version of the Shenlan SL03 boasts a 320 mile range, which is standard for most Chinese EVs; however, buyers can upgrade for a larger battery that will increase that range to 438 miles.
Within hours after the Shenlan SL03 was officially launched, Changan Automobile reported that they already had 15,000 reservations; they plan on delivering the first models to buyers by the end of 2022.
Christopher Boyle is an investigative journalist, videographer, and writer for SEARCHEN NETWORKS® and reports for independent news and media organizations in the United States. Christopher works on a wide variety of topics and fields, has been featured in print and online in a variety of publications, from local to national, and helps keep a keen-eye on what’s happening in the automotive world for Auto Buyers Market.