US electric vehicle maker Tesla has begun taking orders for its locally-made Model 3 car in China on Friday amid strong local demand for the car.

Tesla is scheduled to complete construction of the first phase of its wholly-owned "gigafactory" in Shanghai in June, with mass production scheduled to start by year-end. The company's chief executive officer Elon Musk back in April said the Shanghai plant is expected to produce between 1,000 and 2,000 vehicles per week by the end of 2019.

Local reports suggest that orders going through today for the locally-made second-generation Model 3, which is priced at CNY328,000 (US$47,500), will be fulfilled in "six to ten months".  The company said production costs of the Shanghai plant are some 50% of the existing facility in Fremont in the USA, which should make it a profitable operation.

The sporty Model 3 has a cruising range of up to 460km, a maximum speed of 225kph and can accelerate from 0-100kph in 5.6 seconds.