California Governor Gavin Newsom is currently visiting China to discuss climate initiatives, and one stop on Sunday included a visit to U.S. automaker Tesla’s factory in Shanghai.
Governor Newsom visited and toured the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai on Sunday, as detailed ahead of the trip by Cal Matters and reported by Elex Michaelson in a video on X. The visit to the world’s most productive electric vehicle (EV) plant underscores the unique relationship between the U.S. and China, as the latter country still controls much of the supply chain for EV battery materials.
The visit is intended to look at how China and California can cooperate on climate goals, and it included trips to Shenzen, where a fully electric 16,000-bus fleet is operational, an offshore wind facility in Jiangsu, and finally, the Shanghai facility. In addition, Newsom test-drove one of BYD’s hybrid vehicles and held a meeting in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In the video shared by Michaelson, you can see Newsom and other officials watching as the Model Y production line is in action. Michaelson notes that the facility produces around 2,000 cars per day at Giga Shanghai.
They produce 2,000 new cars a day here. pic.twitter.com/DE62OyEWKL
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) October 29, 2023
In a separate video shared on X by WuWa on Sunday, Newsom was asked multiple questions outside of Giga Shanghai, including how he saw Tesla’s role in the cooperation between the U.S. and China.
“It’s demonstrable,” Newsom said. “I mean the jobs it’s created, the entrepreneurial spirit, the innovation. I’m happy to see the success of this facility.”
Newsom was also asked if he would talk to Tesla CEO Elon Musk when he returns to the U.S. about what he saw at Giga Shanghai, responding that he “imagines” they will, and noting that Tesla moved its engineering and R&D headquarters back to California earlier this year, as located in Palo Alto. Tesla also operates a large factory in Fremont, California.
Additionally, Newsom was spotted test-driving Tesla’s newly redesigned Model 3, which you can see below in a video shared by Sawyer Merritt.
California governor Gavin Newsom test drives the new Tesla Model 3pic.twitter.com/khN7Y7UTC6
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) October 29, 2023
During his time in Jiangsu, Governor Newsom also signed a memorandum of understanding on climate change work, with a particular focus on offshore wind development. The state of California hopes to be producing 25 gigawatts of offshore wind electricity by 2045, which could provide around 13 percent of the state’s power supply and could power roughly 25 million homes in the state.
California has particularly ambitious climate and EV adoption goals compared to many other U.S. states, including a ban on the sale of new gas cars starting in 2035. Although the state has been ahead of the U.S. on EV adoption thus far, China still remains the top miner and producer of EV battery materials.
According to U.K. firm TechInsights, China manages about 80 percent of the world’s cobalt processing, 76 percent of the world’s natural graphite processing, 56 percent of its synthetic graphite and 60 percent of the world’s processing capacity for lithium compounds. The country also produces 50 percent of the world’s sodium hydroxide.
President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) requires at least half of all EV battery components to be sourced in the U.S. or from a country with a free trade agreement.