Since ground was broken for Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai in January, construction of the facility at which Tesla intends to produce as many as 3,000-5,000 Model 3 electric cars a week has been going along at an incredible pace.
The build has been underway for some seven months now, and the Gigafactory now has walls, a complete roof, carparks, air con units, windows, bay doors, and most recently, floor-to-ceiling windows have been put in place (just in time we hope before the devastating Typhoon Lekima made landfall on Monday).
The site also recently received a visit from Chinese government officials from the Municipal Economic and Information Committee to inspect progress, indicating the continued support of the Chinese government (important considering the continuing trade between the US and China).
August 7, Zhang Jianming, deputy director of the Municipal Econ & Info Committee, visited Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory #China. #Tesla VP Worldwide Sales @robinren, Tom Zhu & Grace Tao introduced the overall construction progress.$TSLA #TeslaChina #GF3 #Gigafactory pic.twitter.com/TZXkA6bwwt
— Vincent (@vincent13031925) August 11, 2019
Shanghai city government official Chen Mingbo told Reuters in March that Tesla’s new car assembly factory would be completed by May, with a view to starting production by the end of the 2019.
Although there have been zero updates from CEO and founder Elon Musk via his preferred channel of communication, Twitter, since ground was broken (other than a comment in March about base Model 3 availability contingent on Shanghai completion), the building has taken shape so fast that it seems Tesla would be hard put to NOT be fulfilling that promise.
One Youtuber though has been diligently posting updates of the factory’s construction, most recently posting a video of the construction showing its progress from start to August 8 2019 posted on Youtube including those floor-to-ceiling triangular doors (see 1:46):
Spotters in China have also been documenting its progress via social media platform Twitter, such as these comparison shots:
.@Tesla #Gigafactory 3 built from a dirt to a super high tech auto-manufacturing plant in an astonishing 7 months in #Shanghai, #China! Another example of China’s speed & scale. Via @realChaoZhou @Kristennetten#AutonomousVehicles #AI #selfDrivingCar #electriccar #tesla @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/tmHpqEIWzG
— Alvin Foo (@alvinfoo) August 7, 2019
The release of that image prompted the electric carmaker to release an official statement via its via its official Weibo account.
“The construction of the Shanghai Super Factory has been smooth, and its construction has only been completed for 7 months, and is expected to be officially put into operation by the end of 2019,” the carmaker announced (translated from Chinese).
When the Shanghai Gigafactory is finally ready to start production, it is expected that a cheaper variant of the Model 3 (possibly without the panoramic glass roof according to some sources and closer to the original $US35,000 ($A51,770 converted) base Model 3 that was introduced in March, then removed, to the Tesla US site) will be made at the factory.
As for production numbers and market availability, what we do know is that the Shanghai factory will only make vehicles for the “greater China region”, and that while it may take some months for the facility to ramp up to full production numbers, in the long term Musk is expecting demand of 5,000 units a week, according to comments made by Musk at Tesla’s Q2 2019 earnings call.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.