Tesla has unveiled its first Model 3 made-in-China at Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai and it has now even started to give media test drives of the vehicle ahead of the start of sales.
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.
Earlier this week, 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:
“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.”
Nonetheless, the automaker is still producing Model 3 vehicles as part of its ‘trial production’ at the factory in the meantime.
Last week, we reported on Tesla teasing some of the first Model 3 vehicles produced at the factory.
While the automaker appears to still not have the government approval to officially start production and sales, it has used the first few vehicles to give ‘made-in-China’ Model 3 media drives.
Based on a quick overview of the reporting that went out so far, it looks like the vehicle has been fairly well received.
Here’s an example of Chinese media reporting on the ‘made-in-China’ Model 3 with English subtitles:
‘The miracle’ is really that Tesla has managed to assemble a full Tesla Model 3 at Gigafactory Shanghai only about 9 months after breaking ground at the factory location.
There are still questions about how much of the car is being built at the factory, but the vehicle is at the very least being assembled at the factory, which is impressive on its own.
As we previously reported, 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.
But beyond that for Tesla, it will open up a larger market for them in China with lower prices and better access to EV incentives.
We will keep a close eye out for any announcement regarding government approval and the official start of production in the next few days.
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