Electric car maker Tesla Motors has signed a deal with China’s second largest cell phone service provider China Unicom to develop a charging network across China, reports Bloomberg. The network will include 400 standard electric car charging points, as well as 20 of Tesla’s supercharging stations that can fill a battery much faster than the basic charging points.
China Unicom will provide the land and the many of the charging points will be built at China Unicom outlets across 120 Chinese cities. Tesla will provide the equipment, and Tesla owners in China will be able to charge up their cars for free at the stations.
While Tesla started shipping its Model S electric car to Chinese customers in April, there aren’t many electric charging stations in China because the country has been taking a long time to release the charging standard. Tesla said it will adjust all of its equipment to meet China’s charging standards.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that China could be one of the company’s largest markets within a few years. Musk said he has been “blown away” by the interest and enthusiasm in Tesla in China, and in three to four years Tesla could manufacture cars in China for the Chinese market.
China, the world’s largest auto market, is a tricky market for any car company, requiring complex and rules and government negotiations. Tesla has also faced some issues with name and trademark disputes.
Tesla shares rose close to 3 percent in morning trading to $271.15 on the news.