Tesla’s primary vehicle export hub, Gigafactory Shanghai, is suspending its operations for two days. The halt comes as China deals with its latest Covid outbreak, which has forced the country to adopt stringent safety restrictions once more. The temporary pause in the massive electric vehicle production facility’s operations was shared in a notice sent internally and to the company’s suppliers.
Considering that Gigafactory Shanghai operates around the clock, the loss of two days’ worth of production would likely result in the company missing some of its output for this month. Provided that the facility could resume operations without delays following the two-day shutdown, Giga Shanghai may be able to match or perhaps slightly exceed its numbers from last month. Tesla China delivered 56,515 vehicles, including 33,315 that were exported, in February 2022.
The notice, which was sent on Wednesday and reviewed by Reuters, stated that the pause in Gigafactory Shanghai would last from Wednesday to Thursday. The notice did not specify the reason behind the facility’s shutdown, and the document did not specify if the shutdown would affect all of the plant’s operations. Two individuals who were reportedly briefed on the notice, however, stated that they believe the halt applies to Giga Shanghai’s general assembly lines.
Another notice, this one sent to Tesla’s suppliers in China, inquired how many workers were needed to achieve full production. The notice also asked suppliers to provide details on how their workers are being affected by China’s tightening Covid restrictions. A work setup similar to what was adopted by Apple supplier Foxconn — which involves workers temporarily living in factories — was also mentioned by the electric vehicle maker. It should be noted that the Apple supplier was able to resume operations at its Shenzhen campus on Wednesday after it adopted the arrangement.
China is currently dealing with what could very well be described as the worst Covid outbreak that the country has faced in two years, thanks in part to the Omicron BA.2 subvariant, which is about 30% more transmissible than the initial Omicron BA.1 strain. Factories have been shut down across the country, and in Shanghai, authorities have asked numerous residents to remain in their homes or workplaces for 48 hours to as long as 14 days. This time would be used to conduct necessary Covid tests and implement contact tracing.
Gigafactory Shanghai currently plays a key role in Tesla’s operations, being the facility that supplies Model 3 and Model Y vehicles to foreign territories in Asia and Europe. Last year alone, the facility accounted for about half of the 936,000 vehicles that Tesla delivered globally, and that’s with the Model Y line being ramped for several months. Reports have since emerged stating that Tesla is looking to double its output in China by adding a new vehicle production facility in the vicinity of Giga Shanghai. Once the new plant is operational, estimates suggest that Tesla China could produce about 2 million vehicles annually on its own.
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