Tesla Gigafactory 4 in China is already achieving a weekly output of 1,000 Model 3 electric sedans a week less than a month after production at the new factory, and electric vehicle incentives have been secured for the Chinese-made EV.
The quick ramp up by Gigafactory 3, which CEO and co-founder Elon Musk expects will achieve a rate of 3,000 a weeek once it is in full swing, and customer access to a China government subsidy of ¥25,000 ($A5,203) suggest a promising 2020 for the Californian EV maker.
The reports of the 1,000/week output come from multiple sources in China, backed up by the image above first posted on social media channel Twitter by author of Tesmanian blog, Vincent, on Monday that shows approximately 500 Model 3s lined up in a carpark outside the Gigafactory.
Tesla may have already achieved 1000 #Model3 weekly run rate. This is based on the account of my Chinese friend who has a “deep throat”. Separately, this rumor is backed by @vincent13031925 who also has his own China source. Things are looking good for #GF3. pic.twitter.com/7HrvWF9WqX
— Ray4️⃣Tesla⚡️🚘☀️🔋 (@ray4tesla) December 9, 2019
It is understood that Gigafactory 4 is currently working on one shift per day only, so once the number of shifts increase to 3 per day the full 3,000/month output would be made possible.
The images have emerged just days after the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released its November list of new energy vehicles approves for sales and promotion, and for subsidy eligibility.
As posted by Tesla China’s Twitter account, this list now includes the “Made in China” (MIC) Tesla Model 3.
This official EV incentive recommendation from government does not only mean the subsidies but it is also a permit to sell and deliver China-made Model 3 to customer.
— Tesla China (@teslacn) December 6, 2019
EV sales are dropping in China, as noted recently by electric car sales analysis firm EV-Volumes, with October sales less than half that of the previous year.
China introduced electric vehicle subsidies in 2009, and in June cut the then current subsidy of approximately $US7,000 ($A10,250) by half.
Historically, when the MIIT has restricted EV subsidies this has resulted in a temporary slump that has bounced back in a matter of months.
However, recent market reforms are aimed at culling out smaller players to boost consumer trust, addressing a string of incidents involving battery explosions and vehicle recalls.
As EV-Volumes notes: “Apart from subsidy cuts, new barriers for entry have been established, limiting the number of manufacturing subcontractors, demand a minimum of R&D funds and production capacity.
“Requirements for battery capacity and esp. safety were increased another time. Battery fires and recalls have high public awareness and cause suspicion.”
The final EV sales numbers for 2019 in China now look to be slightly less than 2018 figures, at 1.1-1.2 million sales .
Nevertheless, EV-Volumes reports that, “[Chinese] officials have re-stated the target to produce 2 million NEVs (BEV, PHEV, FCEV) in 2020 [including LCVs and buses].”
Tesla is the first EV manufacturer in China that has been permitted to operate in the once booming EV market without a local partnership.
The MIC Model 3, which is being sold only in the Standard Range Plus variant for ¥355,800 ($A74,029 converted) without options, would be reduced to ¥330,800 ($A68,854) after the subsidy is applied.
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.