As The Next Avenue has reported since the start of construction at Gigafactory Shanghai, progress has been happening at a dizzying pace. After almost two years of construction and two major phases, the expansion of Gigafactory Shanghai still isn’t finished.
Tesla began production at the Chineses plant last year after completing its first phase in 2019. With the accelerated production seen out of Gigafactory Shanghai, Tesla was able to add another 140,000 vehicles to its total for the year.
Model 3 units where the only vehicles coming out of Gigafactory Shanghai in 2020. Now, Giga Shanghai houses the production of Tesla’s Model Y as well with deliveries expected to start before the end of the month. In order to support the production of the Model Y, the plant has more than doubled in size.
However, Tesla isn’t done expanding yet. New drone footage courtesy of YouTuber Jason Yang shows new building progress on the current site where Tesla appears to be taking over more land to the east as well:
New documents surfaced last week regarding Gigafactory Shanghai that seemed a little too coincidental not to mention. The new documents submitted from Gigafactory Shanghai to the government revealed Tesla’s plan to add a cheaper third model which will be produced at Gigafactory Shanghai as early as 2022 (via Weibo and translated from Chinese): “According to the Tesla Gigafactory construction project document exposed on the Internet, Tesla’s new domestic models will be directly produced in the Shanghai Gigafactory. The positioning and selling price will be lower than its Model 3, and the price of the new car is expected to remain unchanged. Between RMB 160,000 and RMB 200,000, mass production and delivery may be as early as 2022.”
Considering 160,000 Chinese yuan is exactly $24,755 USD its seems pretty likely the documents are discussing Tesla’s newly announced, less expensive model, which would accelerate its launch to 2022 instead of its original timeline of 2023.
In addition to the expansion continuation, Tesla is also reportedly seeking a new head of design to join its China team (via Reuters): “Tesla Inc is searching for a design director in China, part of efforts to open a ‘full-function’ studio in Shanghai or Beijing and design electric cars tailored to Chinese consumer tastes, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.”
Tesla added that they would like the design team in China to “bridge the gap” with the US team: “They are looking for “bi-cultural” candidates with 20 or more years of experience who are familiar with Chinese tastes and can bridge the gaps between China and the United States, they added.”
With Tesla’s plans to deploy a full design studio in the country, we will most likely first see the work of Tesla’s China design team on the recently announced $25,000 EV Tesla plans to offer.
CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will bring a $25,000 electric car to the market during the company’s Battery Day event last year: “Tesla will make a compelling $25,000 electric vehicle that is also fully autonomous.” The new budget-friendly EV is possible thanks to Tesla’s new battery cell and battery manufacturing effort.