January 20, 2019

Tesla Makes Gigafactory Breakthrough in Shanghai, Production to Start in 2019

08 January 2019, 01:37 | Hattie Nash

Elon Musk breaks ground on Tesla’s Shanghai 'gigafactory'

Tesla to break ground on Shanghai 'Gigafactory'

'We think with the resources here we can build the Shanghai Gigafactory in record time and we're looking forward to hopefully having some initial production of the Model 3 towards the end of this year and achieving volume production next year, ' Musk said at the event.

In July, Tesla raised the prices of the Model 3 and the Model Y by about 20 per cent in the mainland after Beijing slapped an additional 25 per cent tariff on American-made vehicles, a retaliatory measure against the U.S. administration as trade tensions between the two countries escalated.

The facility will produce Model 3 and Model Y cars as it pushes to grow its presence in the world's largest vehicle market.

The Model S, Model X and "higher cost versions" of the 3 and Y would continue to be made in the United States for the global market, including China, he added.

"Over the last six years, we have opened 60 Tesla locations, almost 1,500 Superchargers, and more than 1,850 destination chargers in the country", the CEO Elon Musk said.

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The facility is expected to churn out about 250,000 vehicles annually in the first phase, and that capacity will double over time, the Shanghai government said in a statement Monday.

The automaker has said it aims to initially produce about 3,000 Model 3 vehicles per week at the plant and localise its manufacturing and supply chain.

"Cars priced between 300,000 and 400,000 yuan are popular among wealthy middle-class mainlanders", said Guo Zhipeng, a senior executive with an investment company who is also a Tesla fan.

China raised the import tariff on United States cars to 40% in July, then cut it to 15% from the start of this year as part of a trade war truce.

A local plant will help Tesla lower prices in the market to compete with a new generation of local rivals including Nio Inc, Byton and XPeng Motors.

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"Affordable cars must be made on same continent as customers", Musk wrote in another Twitter post.

"And the competition is getting more and more fierce".

Tesla (TSLA) bought the land for the factory outside Shanghai in October for $140 million.

The so-called Gigafactory would also be China's first wholly foreign-owned auto plant, a reflection of China's broader shift to open up its vehicle market even amid the whipsawing trade war.

Tesla's next model, the Model Y small SUV, was originally slated to go into production in 2019, but the company now has no factory space to produce it. He said production would start to some degree in the second half of 2019.

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China is the largest market for electric vehicles, and most forecasters predict EV sales in the country will accelerate rapidly as the government drives toward a goal of 100 percent electric vehicles by 2030.

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