Tesla appears to be stuck in “trial production” at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai as it still needs a manufacturing license to officially start production in China, according to Tesla chairman Robyn Denholm.
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.
After starting construction just in January earlier this year, Tesla has been guiding the start of production in Q4 2019 and recent reports indicate that the company is on schedule.
The date came and went and production didn’t officially start, but the Chinese media reported that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology gave approval for Tesla to start production at the plant.
Tesla global vice president for China, Tao Lin, later said that production is ready, but they are now waiting for another government approval.
During its earnings last month, the automaker confirmed that it has produced full vehicles at the new factory as part of its trial production:
We are already producing full vehicles on a trial basis, from body, to paint and to general assembly, at Gigafactory Shanghai. We have cleared initial milestones toward our manufacturing license and are working toward finalizing the license and meeting other governmental requirements before we begin ramping production and delivery of vehicles from Shanghai.
Now Chairman Robyn Denholm confirmed that Tesla is indeed still looking for a “manufacturing certification” and they expect that to get it by the end of the year (via Bloomberg):
We’re working with the local government to get our manufacturing certification, which we hope we will be able to get by the end of the year.
Denholm mentioned the importance of “companies and governments working together to solve technology problems.”
While Tesla has been noting that its production effort at Gigafactory Shanghai has been ahead of schedule and they have been a few cars posted around the factory, it sounds like the company won’t be able to officially get out of “trial production” until they get approved by the government.
That’s a bit late since Tesla was originally planning to start production “early in Q4,” but it’s not the end of the world since they can still work on smoothing out the production ramp-up until they get the approval.
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