Looking at the rapid progress of Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, it is difficult to imagine that just a few months ago, the site was mocked for being just a muddy plot of land. Following the completion of the facility’s Phase 1 buildout, work is now underway to install production equipment inside the factory itself. If a recently leaked email from Tesla’s President of Automotive is any indication, it appears that even the installation of Gigafactory 3’s assembly lines is progressing at record speed.
In his email to Tesla employees, Jerome Guillen, who was promoted to President of Automotive last year, mentioned that Tesla is making preparations to raise the output of the Fremont, CA plant, the location where the Model S, Model 3, and Model X are currently being produced. While Guillen didn’t provide specifics in his message, he did state that employees “will be delighted with the upcoming developments” in the electric car production facility.
Guillen also provided a rare update on the progress of Gigafactory 3, which has been rapidly taking form since its groundbreaking ceremony in January. Gigafactory 3 stands as a critical component of Tesla’s strategy in China, the automotive industry’s largest electric vehicle market, with the company stating that if the facility enters “volume production” in early Q4, Tesla could hit a production rate equivalent to 500,000 vehicles per year. The Automotive President, for his part, noted in his email to employees that several parts of Gigafactory 3’s assembly lines are already in place.
“The Stamping, Body, Paint, and General Assembly lines in China are well underway and hitting records in both line design and fabrication,” Guillen wrote, according to a Bloomberg report.
A glimpse of this progress could be seen in a recent drone flyover by Tesla enthusiast Jason Yang, who was able to capture some footage of the ongoing work inside the facility, including spaces that appear to be intended for robots that will be used in the factory. Apart from the insanely quick progress in the main general assembly building, other facilities in the complex are also taking form, such as a substation southwest of the main factory, which is expected to be completed by September. If this timeline proves accurate, the substation will start operations just as the initial production runs for the Model 3 are beginning.
Tesla has already opened pre-orders for China-made Model 3s at the end of May, with the company informing reservation holders that deliveries will likely start in 6-10 months. Considering the date of the announcement, the expected initial deliveries for the locally-made Model 3 are expected to begin sometime between November 2019 and March 2020. Gigafactory 3’s production rate is expected to start at a regulated pace, though Ma Chunlei, Deputy Secretary-General of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government and Director of Shanghai Development and Reform Commission, has noted that the facility should reach an output of around 3,000 vehicles per week when it starts hitting volume production.
Watch the recent Gigafactory 3 flyover in the video below.
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Author: Simon Alvarez