Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, China, is on track to roll the first Model 3 off the production lines in September of this year. Tencent News reported on the matter, noting that September was the target timing, but the new factory would be churning out cars by the end of 2019 at the latest, according to their source.
The update comes in support of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s comments earlier this week on the Q1 2019 earnings call that the company is on track to reach volume production at the end of this year at 1,000 cars per week or even 2,000 cars per week. The 100% margin of error in his estimates speak to one of the challenges Musk talks about regularly: predicting not the final production rates, but the rate at any specific point in time as production ramps up across the typical production ramp up S-curve.
The source also noted that Tesla has 10 employees onsite to supervise the construction of what is likely to be the most-watched construction site in the world. When completed, Gigafactory 3 will reportedly have four primary operating areas, including: stamping press, body shop, paint shop, and general assembly. In addition to these core automotive manufacturing functions, the new Gigafactory will include sales and R&D functions.
The new Gigafactory is the first automotive factory in Tesla’s history outside of its Fremont Automotive Factory in California’s Bay Area (unless the company starts building the Model Y in Nevada). It is also a milestone for Shanghai that, according to Tencent News, represents the “largest foreign investment in Shanghai’s history,” something that will eventually produce ~500,000 fully electric vehicles per year.
The update also featured an accompanying video showing the progress of the Shanghai Gigafactory as it went from “vegetable field to factory” in just 108 days. The original groundbreaking was just a few months back on January 7th, and here we are, just under four months later and the factory is almost completely built. Granted, it is not completed yet and the inside of the factory is next, but the progress is undeniable. Just in the last few weeks, the factory has started to take shape, revealing some of the developments inside of the shell of the factory.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on the company’s Q1 2019 investor call earlier this week that the company would source battery cells for the new Gigafactory from multiple suppliers, but declined to name specific suppliers. The question of whether battery production would be done in-house or not was also not probed and remains and outstanding question for the new Gigafactory.