Tesla CEO Elon Musk is going to Shanghai later this week, and he is now rumored to unveil the first China-made Tesla Model 3 at an event on Thursday.

On Thursday, Musk is set to kick off the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai with a fireside chat with Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma.

Musk confirmed that he also plans to launch a Chinese division of his Boring Company during the trip.

Both of those things don’t have much to do with Tesla, but Shanghai is also where Tesla is currently building Gigafactory 3, the automaker’s first Chinese factory.

Now local media reports are suggesting that Musk also plans to unveil the first China-made Tesla Model 3 at the WAIC.

Local reporter 主笔唐驳虎 following the WAIC conference said on Weibo (Translated with Google Translate):

It is already in the state of trial installation. It is said that the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference on the 29th of Thursday [sic] will show the first Shanghai brand Model 3. Nine months from the open space to the factory to the product. Watch the best with the American Factory. PS: So interesting things, I think there should be a documentary film crew in the “China Factory” in the past nine months?

Earlier this week, pictures leaked from inside Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 showing some Model 3 bodies and production lines.

Last week, Tesla Gigafactory 3 obtained an official government certificate in record time ahead of the start of production.

Musk has been guiding a start of production in early Q4 2019, which would mean around October, and by the end of the year, Tesla aims for a rapid production ramp-up in phases starting with 3,000 vehicles per week.

Electrek’s Take

I will take this rumor with a grain of salt, but it wouldn’t be too surprising.

If Elon indeed shows up at the event with a Model 3 “made in China,” the biggest question will be: How much of it was made in China?

There’s no doubt that much of it would have been handmade, as the pictures showed that Tesla is still setting up workstations at Gigafactory 3, and I assume that the company would have to import some subsystems, too.

I think it would mostly be a symbolic thing, but I am OK with it if it comes with a clear update on the progress to start production in China, which is going to be extremely important for Tesla.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.


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