Tesla has to announce its fifth version named Model Y in March 2019. It looks like a more affordable SUV model, should be more attractive to millions of consumers than the more expensive electric offers of Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. However, this does not apply to China, where two new competitive e-cars were announced in the last days of 2018.

First, the Chinese company NIO announced its second e-SUV named ES6. This version has 5 seats and is simply more accessible to acquire than Western alternatives. The starting price of the car is about 51,000 dollars, and it is before the government subsidies that will further lower it down.

Despite the lower price, the NIO ES6 is a futuristic model with artificial intelligence, a 11.3-inch touchscreen command center and technologies that we usually get used to seeing only in Tesla’s cars.

Days later, Xiaopeng demonstrated its first electric SUV, which is called G3. The company is supported by the technological giants like Foxconn and Alibaba and it is currently estimated at $3 billion. The G3 is based on Tesla Model X and the Chinese manufacturer does not even hide the fact that the car includes some elements of Tesla due to the fact that Ilon Musk made part of its patents open to other manufacturers.

The starting price of the Xiaopeng G3 is only $ 33,000, again without subsidies.

Both companies are pleased with Beijing’s new plan to consolidate the national automotive industry and invest significantly in development. So far, they have not announced expansion plans outside of China, but other local companies such as SF Motors and Qiantu are already targeting the US market.

Automakers from all over the world spent decades trying to enter in the Chinese market in anticipation of the car boom, though these efforts were largely limited by the rules that forced foreign companies to reach to 50-50 participation with Chinese partners. These efforts, coupled with the recent government pressure to promote the development of electric and hybrid power companies, helped in gather enough knowledge and momentum for companies such as NIO and Xiaopeng to emerge today.

This means that Tesla will face tremendous competition when it boosts the production of Model Y, Model 3 or whatever it chooses to offer in China. This also means that with China’s long arm, Chinese carmakers are closer than ever in their long shot trying to compete on US territory.