Tesla is starting trial production of Model 3 at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai and it is reportedly planning to sell the first cars coming out of the factory to their workers.

We have been getting a lot of indications lately that Tesla is about to start production at Gigafactory 3 less than a year after having started construction.

Last month, government officials and Tesla suppliers were saying that the automaker planned to start production on October 14.

The date came and went without production officially starting, but the Chinese media reported that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology gave approval for Tesla to start production at the plant last week.

However, Tesla’s global vice president for China, Tao Lin, said earlier this week that production is ready, but they are now waiting for another government approval.

Now Reuters reports that Tesla has started “trial production” and it plans to sell some of those cars to its employees:

“Tesla is conducting trial production runs at its new $2 billion China factory for the past several weeks and will sell some of the first cars from the plant to its employees, sources told Reuters.”

The news comes after we saw new footage from the factory this week that shows a flow of material coming to Gigafactory 3 – indicating a ramp-up in activity at the plant.

The start of production is going to be a major milestone since it’s going to be the first electric vehicle factory wholly-owned by a foreign automaker in China and Tesla’s second electric vehicle production factory.

It will also enable Tesla to avoid import duties that are currently making its vehicles imported from California more expensive in China, which is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.

As we recently reported, Tesla aims to quickly ramp up production to 3,000 units per week at Gigafactory 3 and Model 3 production at the plant is expected to be essential to Tesla’s growth in the fourth quarter.

The start of production and the ramp-up is expected to be discussed by Tesla’s management later today after the automaker releases its earnings.

Here’s our Tesla Q3 2019 earnings preview.

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