Tesla Giga Shanghai Achieves Amazing Production Numbers, Aiming at 600K+ a Year
A Gigafactory essentially brings together multiple companies and entities that source components, bring together highly specialized instruments, and numerous business processes that are tied together to make such a factory work. Tesla Giga Shanghai, as (almost) everybody knows, is a factory in China operated by Tesla, Inc. In 2019, Tesla selected Shanghai as its third Gigafactory location, and the company constructed the factory in record time, taking just 168 working days from gaining permits to finishing the plant's construction.
The facility currently hosts the final assembly of the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y, which started deliveries in January 2021. The factory's initial production rate target was 3,000 cars a week, and it was calculated that it would eventually ramp up to 250,000 electric cars per year. The first assembled Model 3s were delivered in December 2019, just twelve months after Tesla began site grading on the Gigafactory in December 2018.
Tesla MIC Sep production: 50,258
Model Y: 25,864
Model 3: 24,394
— Moneyball (@DKurac) October 26, 2021
Giga Shanghai currently does final assembly of Model 3 vehicles, which began in December 2019, and Model Y that began final assembly later in 2020. While initially, those assemblies were accomplished with parts and subassemblies that were shipped into the factory from the US, a major push during 2020 was aimed at gradually increasing the "Made in China" (MIC) content in the car as Tesla China manufacturing matured.
As said before, MIC Model Y production started in January 2021, and the production line capacity of Giga Shanghai was aimed at 5,000 cars per week; it was calculated that - if achieved and sustained - it could result in an annual capacity of more than 250,000 vehicles. Now we can see that those number predictions have been more than doubled, if we take into account September 2021 numbers as a calculation base: 50K in twelve months is basically more than 600K.
Building a Giga Factory in Shanghai was an important milestone for Tesla, which hoped to use its Shanghai factory to gain a foothold in China, the world's largest market for electric vehicles. It was hoped that the local factory would help to speed up deliveries and insulate the company from the ongoing (at the time) trade war between US and China.
By the way, the name Gigafactory comes from the word 'Giga,' the unit of measurement representing “billions.” Gigafactories (Shanghai, Berlin, Texas) are being built in phases so that Tesla can begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections and continue to expand thereafter. While Giga Shanghai was originally only supposed to produce vehicles for local demand, Tesla surprised itself with how fast it was able to ramp up production at the plant. It enabled Tesla to start exporting vehicles from the factory to other markets – reducing the exportation load out of Fremont factory, which can now focus more on local (US) demand.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.