Californian EV maker Tesla is ready to begin making Model 3s in China, as images emerge of the Shanghai Gigafactory 3 complete and ready to roll its best-selling electric car off the factory floor.
What appear to be drone photos posted by Tesla enthusiast Vincent show the Shanghai factory adorned in the iconic Tesla white with red trim.
At the end of the building the white company logo appears in huge letters against a dark grey background, and blue Cosco shipping containers appear as if embedded in warehouse bay doors.
Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory GF3
— Vincent (@vincent13031925) October 21, 2019
A number of sources have claimed that Tesla went into production on Sunday. However, according to a report in the Global Times it must first await product certification from the Chinese government, Tesla global vice president Tao Lin said.
.@Tesla Shanghai factory is ready for production and sales will begin after being granted product certification and government approval, said Tesla global vice president Tao Lin. pic.twitter.com/HyFzIbqx7c
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) October 21, 2019
The progress made at the Shanghai site, at which Tesla plans to output some 1,000 vehicles per week by the end of 2019 – has been impressive.
Ground was first broken in January, and even just six months ago the site was little more than dirt and the beginnings of structural frames, as shown in this flyover from Youtuber Wuwa:
As little as two months ago, construction was progressing well, prompting the EV maker to issue a statement via its Chinese Weibo account saying production would go head by the end of 2019.
The latest flyover shows the monumental size of the facility, as well as a secondary building that has now also begun construction and which is understood will be the location for Tesla’s own battery manufacturing.
China is the world’s largest electric vehicle market, and the move by Tesla to manufacture and sell direct to the Chinese public will enable it to avoid import tariffs applied to US-made cars.
The Model 3 went on sale in China in early 2019 with first ships arriving in China ahead of schedule in February apparently in a bid to avoid the US-China trade war.
Since going on sale, registrations of the Model 3 in China have lead research Piper Jaffray to estimate Tesla sales in the third quarter of 2019 were up 175% since the same period in 2018, despite a drop in EV subsidies that has seen the Chinese EV market in general fall significantly.
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.