When Tesla released its third-quarter vehicle delivery and production report, the electric car maker stated that it will be ramping the construction of its Gigafactory 3 in China. During that time, Tesla’s updated timeframe was met with a notable degree of skepticism among the company’s critics, particularly as Gigafactory 3’s initial timeline, which called for vehicle production to start within two years of the facility’s construction, was already panned for being too ambitious.
One factor that appears to have escaped Tesla’s critics, though, was that the company is seemingly enjoying the full support of the Chinese government. And in a country such as China, the support of the government matters much. With government backing, even projects deemed too ambitious become feasible. Considering the progress in Gigafactory 3’s Shanghai site so far, this appears to be the case, as construction in the company’s 864,885-square meter plot of land in the Lingang Industrial Zone is already underway.
Last week, drone footage taken of the site revealed that workers have already completed laying the perimeter fence around Gigafactory 3. The progress of the battery and electric car factory’s construction was emphasized even more in recent reports from local Chinese media, who provided some details on Gigafactory 3’s development. One of these reports stated that the facility, which is on its first stage of construction, is currently one year ahead of schedule (credit is due to Tesla community member vincent13031925 for translating and summarizing the local news report’s content on Twitter).
This is not all, though, as local media also stated that the price of Model 3 and Model Y — the two vehicles that will be produced in the facility — can be reduced by 1/3 if Tesla utilizes local supply chains and labor. Reiterating previous reports, local Chinese media have also stated that an assembly line for the Model 3, the first vehicle that will be built in Gigafactory 3, is expected to be ready for operation in the second half of 2019.
Gigafactory 3’s construction is a welcome project in China, a country that is aggressively pursuing an initiative to push electric vehicles to its consumers. The country is already the largest market for EVs today, but in the coming years, China’s electric car market is bound to get even larger. As such, having a dedicated facility that could produce vehicles locally would greatly help Tesla increase its foothold on the country.
So far, Tesla appears to be operating well under the approving eye of the Chinese government. Permits for the project were quickly filed and approved, and local Shanghai banks were reported to have easily granted low-interest loans for the facility’s construction. The local government seemed to have given its blessing when Tesla made its bid for the plot of land in the Lingang Industrial Zone as well, since the electric car maker’s bid went completely unchallenged. Overall, it almost seems like China is favorably looking to Tesla as a company that can lead a transition towards the widespread adoption of electric cars. As such, it is doing what it can to support the company.
The government’s show of support appears to be working well, as exhibited by the notable level of interest that Gigafactory 3 is attracting. Just recently, Tesla held a job fair for positions in the upcoming facility. The response to Tesla’s job fair overwhelmed the electric car maker, forcing the company to extend its hiring hours to accommodate the large number of applicants for the site. A number of the applicants interviewed by local media even noted that they traveled from faraway cities just to apply for a post in Gigafactory 3.