Foundational work is fast and furious.
The building of the Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai continues at a rapid pace. At the official groundbreaking of the factory, where the automaker will produce the Model 3 and Model Y for China and other far east markets, the large plot of land was a flat, muddy expanse. There was basically a small building, a temporary stage for the ceremony, and several piledrivers. As you can see in the video above, the change from seven weeks ago is pretty dramatic.
Halfway through January, our construction update showed the beginnings of progress, but nothing especially dramatic. Then, early in February, new drone footage revealed some concrete slabs had been poured. Now, with the lengthy Chinese New Year vacations over with, the scene has been transformed.
Some smaller buildings are going up, and there is a small army of pile drivers pounding footings for further foundations. As you can see in the footage, these are not (unfortunately) electric machines. The air is thick with diesel exhaust as they (literally) lay the groundwork for a cleaner future.
The two-minute video above is an excerpt from a longer production. We've embedded that seven-minute one below, and although an understanding of Chinese may help one to more fully appreciate it, it is a bit better quality and includes a few more scenes of the site, along with a couple interesting vehicles spotted on the trip to the property. For instance, at the 11-second mark, the camera appears to capture a Chevy Volt (or is it a Buick Velite 6?) in the wild. Then, 51 seconds in, the lens spies a Tesla Model X in the wild.
The construction is slated to continue for most of the year. Tesla does hope to begin initial vehicle manufacturing before the end of 2019. This is, of course, extremely ambitious, but this latest scene does give us hope. The automaker's midsize Model 3 has just begun deliveries in the country with cars produced at the company's Fremont factory. Production becoming local near the end of the year should go some way towards reducing the carbon footprint of the vehicles and the cost.