Speaking during the Q1 2018 earnings call, Elon Musk announced that Tesla’s next Gigafactory would be built in China. What’s more, Musk stated that all future Gigafactories would support the manufacture of the company’s vehicles.
Musk’s update on its factory plans in China came as a response to a question from CNBC’s Phil LeBeau, who asked for more details about Tesla’s plans regarding the Model Y, the Tesla Semi, and company’s future vehicles. Musk’s response to the question was direct, stating that the next Gigafactory will be established in China.
“It has to be later this year. Maybe next quarter, but not later than fourth quarter for Model Y. We also expect to announce the location of a Tesla Gigafactory in China soon. In the future, all Gigafactories will include vehicle production. So, right now, vehicle production and battery production, like battery production and motor and power electronics and charger production are at Giga, and then, we have our Fremont car factory. But future Gigafactories will all incorporate vehicle production.”
Musk also extended Tesla’s gratitude to the Chinese government over its decision to lift ownership restrictions for factories operated by foreign car manufacturers. When Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the country’s intention to reduce import tariffs and remove ownership restrictions for foreign-operated facilities, Musk stated on Twitter that China’s decision will “benefit all countries.”
“We’re very appreciative of the fact that the government of China has announced that they will be allowing full ownership of manufacturing facilities in China. We’d like to express our appreciation to the Chinese government in that regard.”
Even before Musk’s announcement of its next Gigafactory, expectations were high that the facility Tesla’s China facility would be tasked with the manufacture of the company’s two mass-market electric cars — the Model Y and the Model 3. During Tesla’s Q3 2017 earnings call last November, Musk stated that having a factory in China is “really the only way to make cars affordable” in the country. Musk also noted that the upcoming facility “won’t be making Model S and Model X, but probably Model 3, probably Model Y primarily for the local Chinese market.”
Musk’s update on Tesla’s next Gigafactory in China was in line with his statements back in February during the Q4 2017 earnings call. During the Q&A session, Musk teased that Tesla will begin investing in the Model Y sometime later this year.
“We are going to make some capital investments towards the end of this year related to Model Y. I don’t want to jump the gun on those, but I think we’ve got a good plan. I’m pretty excited about how we’re designing Model Y. It’s really taking a lot of lessons learned from Model 3 and saying how do we design something to be easy to manufacture instead of how to manufacture or difficult, really,” Musk said.