During Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting and Battery Day event, Elon Musk pointed out something that many seemed to overlook — Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai is 100% owned by Tesla, an American company, and this is an incredibly big deal. “I think that something that’s quite noteworthy here is Tesla’s the only foreign manufacturer to have a 100% owned factory in China,” Elon said just after praising the Tesla China team for its fast pace.
A little over a year ago, I wrote this article for CleanTechnica, noting that Tesla was winning the US–China trade war. Hyperchange’s Gali Russell had pointed out that Elon had secured the deal with China for the factory in the heat of the trade war that Trump had started with China. Let me emphasize this: during a big trade war between the US and China, an American company secured the only foreign-owned factory in China.
“Until now, every single car sold in China was built by a Chinese automotive manufacturer or built by a joint venture between a foreign auto company and a domestic partner,” said Gali in his video. “China is literally changing their policies to cater to Tesla to allow them to come into the region. … Why does China want Tesla instead of every other automaker? It’s because they have the tech.”
Tesla’s Progress In China
Out of the fields of mud, a giant grew — that giant is Gigafactory 3, and this is where the term “Tesla speed” was coined. In just under 15 months, Tesla China’s team transformed this muddy field into one of the world’s most advanced auto manufacturing factories. This factory, I believe, is where Tesla gained real confidence in building factories. The Chinese government has also been very supportive of Tesla. Since Tesla is the only foreign-owned manufacturer there, China seems to be 100% behind Tesla’s success there.
After the Opening of the Taichung Tesla Center, we can serve over 100 cars per week including Mobile Service too.✌️✌️ We hope this change will be tools that enable you to enjoy more and worry less. pic.twitter.com/WiUVjYhVAY
— Tesla Greater China (@teslacn) September 19, 2020
Just recently, Tesla opened its Taichung Tesla Center and will service over 100 cars per week there. This includes mobile service too. “We hope this change will be tools that enable you to enjoy more and worry less,” Tesla Greater China tweeted. Tesla is also the top-selling car brand in Taiwan, with the Model 3 being its best selling passenger car. Tesla sold 817 vehicles in total and took 97.4% of Taiwan’s EV sales in August. And in Hong Kong Tesla became the top-selling car brand, with the Model 3 being the best-selling passenger car as well. This exceeded sales all private gasoline and electric vehicles in August.
The first V3 Supercharger station in Beijing is open！We will launch the V3 Supercharger in more cities soon. pic.twitter.com/l2Gmawvk4y
— Tesla Greater China (@teslacn) August 8, 2020
Furthermore, Tesla’s first V3 Supercharger in Beijing opened, and Tesla China plans to launch more V3 Superchargers soon in more cities.
Giga Shanghai pic.twitter.com/7P9SUHEdTg
— Tesla Greater China (@teslacn) August 29, 2020
Tesla China Could Produce 1 Million EVs
Elon Musk also shared at the shareholder meeting that Giga Shanghai could eventually produce 1 million electric vehicles a year. This makes sense in light of Tesla’s goal to export vehicles made at Giga Shanghai to other markets in both Europe and Asia — it will need to produce a lot of vehicles. Taipei Times reported that Tesla is looking to realize its plan to reduce shipping costs and manufacture vehicles closer to customers with this move. Tesla will be the first American company in China making products there and exporting to Asian and European markets. That’s unheard of.
These markets include Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand as well. Usually, customers have to wait for a Tesla to be delivered from the US, which can take weeks in various markets, but now, with Giga Shanghai coming online and producing vehicles, that wait won’t be as long and shipping will cost less. Those in Europe will also benefit from Giga Berlin once it’s up and running. Taipei Times noted that the demand for electric vehicles is rising around the globe, bolstered by tighter emissions regulations in Europe and elsewhere — along with increasing awareness of climate change.
Tesla’s continued progress in China gives us a glimpse into the future — one that shines a light through the smog in hopes of a brighter, cleaner future. That light will lead us there, and I believe that Tesla is that light. No, Tesla isn’t the only light shining through, but it is one of the brightest and is highly visible. Tesla landed its own factory in a country that has never let a foreign company own its own factory there before — in the middle of a trade war with that company’s country. Yes, Elon Musk is right — this is a big deal.