Tesla managed to build a giant building for its Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai in record time, but now it appears to be preparing an expansion ahead of the start of production.
Gigafactory 3 is Tesla’s first manufacturing facility in China, and it’s also the first electric vehicle factory wholly owned by a foreign automaker in the country.
As the trade war between China and the US keeps getting more complicated, it’s becoming more important than ever for Tesla to have manufacturing capacity in China.
They will be able to avoid increasingly uncertain import tariffs in the biggest auto market in the world.
Tesla has been in a hurry to make that happen, and they have been moving extremely fast to get Gigafactory 3 ready.
They officially broke ground in January and plan to be done with the building by this summer.
Recent drone videos show that Tesla already completed the majority of the giant building’s exterior earlier this summer, but now the focus has been on setting up production inside the factory.
Over the last few months, we have seen a few leaked pictures from inside the factory that show Tesla is busy setting up production lines ahead of the start of Model 3 production, which is expected within the next few weeks.
Despite this focus on work inside the factory, it appears that Tesla is planning to already expand the giant building.
A new drone video of the factory by Jason Yang on YouTube shows that Tesla has been grading more land next to the factory and digging for what appears to be new foundations:
Tesla certainly has more room to grow on its plot of land in Shanghai, but the company never announced an official expansion of the building.
At the unveiling of the Model Y earlier this year, Tesla showed a render of the planned Gigafactory 3, and the current building looks a lot like it, as it stands now:
But time was of the essence with Gigafactory 3, and Tesla changed its plans.
Initially, CEO Elon Musk wanted battery production to also be included in the factory, but they had to put the project on the back burner and focus on car production in order to avoid the import tariffs.
Therefore, the main building could be for vehicle production and the expansion at the other end of the factory could be for future battery production:
It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for Tesla to build the factory in phases.
Gigafactory 1 has been growing with sections when it was first being built, and Tesla claims that it is now about 33% completed, despite the fact that they haven’t added a new section in years.
In the meantime, most of the construction still appears to be happening inside the factory.
Last month, 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.
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