A new video posted on YouTube by a man in China who uses the Twitter handle Yan Chang shows him driving one of the first Tesla Model 3 sedans to come off the assembly line at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. The video is in (very rapid) Chinese but has English subtitles so the rest of us can follow along.
What is remarkable about all this is that the first cars are rolling off the line in Shanghai just about 10 months after construction of the new factory began last January. By comparison, Volkswagen began the process of expanding its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at about the same time and is just now getting started with building it. That illustrates how much time the permitting process can take. Authorities in Shanghai cleared away miles of red tape to make the new Tesla factory happen. As one person commented on YouTube, it takes 10 months to get a pothole fixed in the US.
Those with sharp eyes will notice one of the sponsors of the video is Tencent, the Chinese technology giant that has made a big investment in Tesla. Perhaps its support had something to do with the factory getting built so quickly. Now that Elon Musk has announced the next Tesla factory will be located near Berlin, it will be interesting to see how long it takes to get that factory built and into operation. Reportedly, one of Elon Musk’s requirements for locating it there was that Tesla be able to build it just as quickly.
According to Forbes, Yan Chang says he was “honored” to be the first to drive the domestic Model 3. He says the only difference between the American and Chinese Model 3 sedans is the locally produced car has a Model 3 badge in English and Chinese on the rear. American Model 3s have no such badges.
In every other respect, including battery components, design, and software, the Chinese and American built cars are identical he says, except the version of Autopilot available on the locally produced cars is a more basic version. But, of course, with over-the-air updates possible on all Tesla automobiles, future upgrades are surely coming. However, the factory warranty on the Chinese cars is half what it is on US-made cars at 4 years and 80,000 kilometers — a significant difference.
Yan Chang also praised the car for its excellent build quality. Apparently, the Chinese made Model 3 is noticeably quieter on the road, thanks to better sealing and sound deadening techniques. However, those changes have reportedly been incorporated into new US made cars as well. One person posted a comment on YouTube that interior noise is his only significant complaint about his Model 3, but that shouldn’t be an issue for new buyers.
The most significant news about the Shanghai operation is that Tesla has now been granted a manufacturing license for Gigafactory 3, which means the cars manufactured there will be eligible for all EV incentives currently offered by the Chinese government and local authorities. Those incentives are not available for cars manufactured in the US, so the Chinese built cars will be more price competitive in the Chinese new car market than their US made cousins. That’s a huge advantage that Tesla will be able to exploit as it seeks to become one of the largest EV manufacturers in China.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.