Tesla’s China Factory Will Build Model 3 & Model Y

Tesla Model Y


Regulatory filing now confirms what we had long ago believed to be the case.

Both the Tesla Model 3 and upcoming Model Y will be built in high volume at Tesla’s soon-to-open factory in China.

Reuters reports:

“Tesla Inc’s Shanghai Gigafactory is planning to produce two models in its first phase project, a Shanghai government filing showed on Wednesday.”

As mentioned, we alluded to this being the case some time way back when (November 2017, to be precise), but it’s now confirmed via a filing.

This confirms what Tesla CEO Elon Musk had previously stated too:

“[Tesla] won’t be making Model S and Model X, but we’ll be making probably Model 3, probably Model Y primarily for the local Chinese market and it’s really the only way to make the cars affordable in China, but it’s three years out, so.”

Reuters adds:

“The new factory, based in eastern China, aims to manufacture Model 3 and Model Y cars, with annual capacity of 250,000 vehicles, according to a filing by the environmental assessment firm conducting a feasibility study for the project.”

We’ve still yet to see the Tesla Model Y in production or even prototype form, but hints suggest we may get a peek at it before the end of this year.

Below is the lone teaser released thus far by Tesla of the Model Y.

Official Tesla Model Y Teaser

Source: Reuters

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27 Comments on "Tesla’s China Factory Will Build Model 3 & Model Y"

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Isn’t saying “Tesla’s soon-to-open factory in China” a little bit of a stretch? If the factory was done being built tomorrow with all the robots in place it would still take months to calibrate. You just don’t take the programming from a robot in the US and install it in the robot in China. Small changes in the floor, the line, etc… make changes necessary – even if they are small.

I assume by the time this factory is done the Model Y will be ready for release. So I assume that’s end of 2020 or beginning of 2021.

Calibration is for slow-witted legacy carmakers. Tesla robots start making cars while technicians are still removing the bubble wrap!

Machines that make machines so obvoiusly the robots are already rowing thier way accross the Pacific ocean. OTA updates will tell the robots what their job will be once in China.

Lol! It’s robots that remove the bubble wrap.

Once they poor a slab of concrete it’s ‘tent’ city time. :-p

Tesla was able to move the manufacturing robots into a tent of the parking lot and start production a few days later, seems not that much calibration was needed there.
Also Electrek had an article today stating that Tesla Shanghai will start first production & delivery already in 2019, maybe another tent on the Shanghai parking lot and final assembly of USA made c.k.d. kits to save at least some of the 40% Chinese import duty.

These will be for local market, not US.

The “tent” final assembly line is mostly manual, i.e. no robots. (Just a conveyor line.) Other phases of the production process involve much more automation, though — including body welding, marriage etc.

Don’t know how much of that the Chinese factory will do though in the first iteration… If it’s really just final assembly, there should be no trouble getting it going within months I’d guess.

That “assembly line in a tent” is only a partial assembly line. Some processes, such as the paint shop and the body panel stamping machines, are almost certainly not going to be seen inside a tent structure.

We might speculate that Tesla could start assembly in a tent not long after a concrete slab is poured at the China site, but they would have to bring in body panels stamped out elsewhere, and they would have to take the “body in white” to a paint shop located elsewhere. That would involve a lot of shipping cars in various stages of construction back and forth; not exactly a model of efficient production.

So I’m not surprised to hear a Tesla spokesman saying, re Model 3 and Model Y production in China, “…but it’s three years out.”

Oops! My mistake, I now see the “…but it’s three years out” was a quote from Nov. 2017.

Perhaps Tesla’s plans have changed…

Plans have changed indeed. They have been talking about an accelerated schedule in the last days. (Probably when they announced that they purchased land? Not sure exactly…)

It’s a full assembly line. It’s not a full production line.

Assembly is just putting the parts into the body. Body shop and paint shop are not “assembly”.

Actually, the industry standard IS to build assembly lines somewhere else besides the factory floor, and then stop production of the old model year of the vehicle and update the line with the new tooling/programming.

This is how pretty much every car factory in the world does generational changeovers. In fact, Tesla Grohmann Automation has been doing that for years for other companies, creating assembly lines for them, breaking them down, and then delivering them to their factories where in weeks they are building production vehicles.

“Isn’t saying ‘Tesla’s soon-to-open factory in China’ a little bit of a stretch?”

Yeah, the “…but it’s three years out” sounds like some Tesla spokesman was actually being realistic about the timeline. And just a few days ago, I was getting a lot of push-back when I said the Chinese Gigafactory wouldn’t be producing in volume for two years! Looks like I was overly optimistic. 🙁

Dunno about y’all, but to me, the term “soon-to-open” doesn’t mean something that’s three years away!

*Sigh* My error, the “…but it’s three years out” was a quote from Nov. 2017. Perhaps — mostly likely, even — Tesla’s plans have changed since. Certainly the new tariffs would be a strong motivation to accelerate the timeline for production in China.

” Tesla’s soon-to-open factory”

Soon-to-open? Didn’t they just break ground like a week or two ago? What is soon?

This is China they are known for building mega projects a lot bigger then this in a year.

China was able to expand it’s expressway by double in only ten years.

China is the King of building mega projects.

How long did it take to build the three gorges dam

One of my favorite anecdotes about building-fast-in-China has to do with a 57 floor skyscraper. A Chinese firm put it up in 19 days. {* citation needed *}

“Tesla Inc’s Shanghai Gigafactory is planning to produce two models in its first phase project, a Shanghai government filing showed on Wednesday.”

And after the first phase?

Second phase is doubling of the capacity from 250k units to 500k units per year, no other models mentioned for Shanghai yet.

And they will still likely beat the Germans and Japanese to the market….

They really need the Tesla Semi to be made there also. They could sell over a million trucks in huge China and throughout Asia. It would cut down on the horrible pollution in their big cities.

Deliveries inside cities don’t need much range. That’s not the market for the Tesla Semi. (There are others makers taking care of that.)

I question that China is going to be using semi trucks for much or most of its long-distance shipping, as the U.S. does. China is currently in the boom phase of industrialization, and they’ll probably build… heck, they are already well along in building… a modern railroad network capable of much more timely, much more efficient freight hauling. Sadly, the U.S. has allowed its railroads to become very outdated and extremely inefficient as compared to the demands of modern manufacturing’s “just-in-time” shipping needs. That’s why so much U.S. long-distance shipping moves by truck rather than rail.

Certainly there is no rational reason to believe that China will copy the U.S.’s current outdated and inefficient railroad system. Heck, China already has some high-speed “bullet trains”… which the U.S. entirely lacks. 🙁

The Chinese have more high speed trains and track than almost the rest of the world combined, but I’m not sure they’d use it for freight, like moving cars about.