Tesla is swimming in Model 3 sales in the United States, where the sports sedan is #1 in its class, #4 among all cars (not counting trucks and SUVs), and also the #1 highest grossing car in the country. However, we in the press can get impatient and are always looking for progress — the next big news item. With Tesla, an increasingly global company, that often means looking for news from China.
Today, our colleague Vincent brought some positive Tesla news from that side of the world:
From the official recruitment advertisement of Tesla, the Shanghai Gigafactory has entered the stage of preparation for construction. Thanks @congcongcui1 for the info $TSLA #TeslaChina pic.twitter.com/rtTmJHbNAa
— Vincent 🚀🟠 (@vincent13031925) October 12, 2018
This is a clear sign of progress at Gigafactory 3 in China, but it is not the first sign of life there.
In early August, 14 jobs related to the project were posted on the company’s Chinese careers page (which was Vincent’s source as well). That was right around the same time that a video popped up of Shanghai government officials indicating they were eager to put Gigafactory 3 into place as quickly as possible.
A couple of weeks later, Chinese media outlets got their first view of the site, part of Shanghai’s Lingang New City. And two weeks after that, just one month ago, we reported that Tesla had increased the registered capital for Gigafactory 3 from 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) to 4.67 billion yuan ($681 million).
Progress is rolling. A Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai may seem like a mythical dream, but so did Gigafactory 1 once upon a time. In fact, it probably wasn’t until July 29, 2016, that Gigafactory 1 genuinely demonstrated to the public it was the real deal. Gigafactory 1 is now two years ahead of its original schedule and Tesla’s production ramp is matching up more or less perfectly with Elon Musk’s 2015 forecasts.
While Musk is no super-robot and is sometimes too optimistic with near-term or mid-term forecasts, he appears to have a special skill when it comes to long-term planning. After all, over the course of approximately one decade, he somehow nailed a rather detailed, ambitious, and many said impossible “secret master plan.” With that history of execution behind him, those of us who have been following Tesla closely for a long time see it as more or less impossible that Tesla won’t deliver on Gigafactory 3.
Furthermore, given how quickly China and Tesla like to get stuff done and how eager they both are to cut transportation emissions, a widespread assumption is that Gigafactory 3 will also run ahead of schedule. We’ll see if Elon would like to drop us a comment on Twitter (or below this article) about his forecasts for Gigafactory 3 and its construction timeline.
With my team after a profoundly interesting discussion of history, philosophy & luck with Vice President Wang in 中南海紫光阁 pic.twitter.com/pHd52YTZD2
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 12, 2018