Tesla Gigafactory 3 complex sees preparations for next, big expansion

Tesla Gigafactory 3 site as of September 2019. (Credit: Jason Yang/YouTube)

Recent footage of Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 complex in Shanghai suggests that the electric car maker’s construction partner is busy preparing for what appears to be the buildout of another massive facility at the south end of the general assembly building. Neither Tesla nor local reports have revealed what the upcoming facility will be, though recent tweets from CEO Elon Musk suggest that the new building could help Gigafactory 3 produce batteries and powertrains for the Model 3 and Model Y. 

During a recent interaction on Twitter, Musk mentioned that Gigafactory  Shanghai will produce “cars, batteries & drive units” at the same site. This is a far different strategy from Tesla’s current setup in the United States, which involves vehicle assembly being performed in the Fremont factory, and battery and drive unit production being done in Gigafactory Nevada. Tesla’s setup in China will likely prove beneficial for the electric car maker, as parts manufacturing and vehicle assembly could be accomplished in one complex. 

Gigafactory 3’s Phase One construction was recently completed, with the site’s general vehicle assembly building practically ready for activation. Images and a video taken inside the massive building suggests that a Model 3 assembly line is already in place, and manufacturing robots have been set up. In the days leading up to Elon Musk’s recent visit to China alone, pictures from Gigafactory 3’s interior revealed that the electric car maker is already conducting trial runs on the Model 3 assembly line. 

Yet with Phase One being complete, much of the more visible updates to the Gigafactory 3 complex lies in the southern end of the site, where several cranes and pile drivers are currently deployed. The very same machinery were deployed in the early days of the general assembly building’s construction, which suggests that preparations are now underway for another massive buildout in the Gigafactory 3 complex. The area where these activities are ongoing could be seen in a recent video from drone operator Jason Yang, who has been following the site’s development since its groundbreaking ceremony back in January. 

Apart from the potential size of the new structure that will be rising from Gigafactory 3’s Phase 2 buildout, the ongoing pace of work at the site is also very impressive. Statements from several workers on the complex indicate that activities in Gigafactory 3 continue to adopt a 24/7 scheme, despite the Phase One stage being completed. This means that since the earliest days of its buildout, neither Tesla nor its Chinese construction partner have let up in their efforts to finish the facility in the fastest time possible. 

When he attended Gigafactory 3’s groundbreaking ceremony, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that trial Model 3 production runs could start as early as the end of 2019. So far, the pace of Gigafactory 3’s construction has exceeded this, with local reports suggesting that the general assembly building could start Model 3 trial production runs as soon as the southwest substation is ready for operation. Interestingly enough, reports have suggested that the substation could go online as early as the end of September

Watch the recent drone flyover of the Gigafactory 3 complex in the video below. 

Tesla Gigafactory 3 complex sees preparations for next, big expansion
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