It’s been barely a week since Tesla CEO Elon Musk attended Gigafactory 3’s groundbreaking ceremony, but the location for the upcoming battery and electric car factory is now ablaze with life. As could be seen in footage taken on Thursday local Shanghai time, work on Gigafactory 3 is already going full throttle, as evidenced by the sheer number of heavy equipment operating on the site.
The recent footage of the upcoming facility was shared with Teslarati by Tesla owner-enthusiast Vincent Yu, who is currently visiting Shanghai. Taken using a drone, the short footage shows heavy machinery busily working on a section of Tesla’s 864,885-square meter plot of land in Shanghai’s Lingang Industrial Zone. Vincent also shared some images taken around the land on Twitter, showing trucks seemingly moving dirt from the site.
— Vincent (@vincent13031925) January 17, 2019
The recently shared footage from Gigafactory 3 is but a few seconds long, but it does prove one notable point — once the groundbreaking ceremony for the site was done, the construction of the facility would likely proceed at an extremely rapid pace. China’s construction workforce, after all, is known for its fast, almost surgically-precise buildouts. Just last year, for example, Elon Musk lauded the country’s workforce on Twitter, sharing a report about Chinese workers building a railway station in just nine hours. In his post, Musk noted that “China’s progress in advanced infrastructure is more than 100 times faster than the US.”
In a country such as China, though, these rapid buildouts are usually accomplished with support from the government. Fortunately for Tesla, this appears to be the case, as evidenced by the state’s warm reception to Elon Musk during his visits to the country, as well as the help the electric car maker has received in securing partial funding for Gigafactory 3 (to name a few).
Tesla, for one, was allowed to become the sole owner of Gigafactory 3 — something that was not granted to other automakers operating in the country. Reports have also emerged pointing to local banks competing to grant Tesla low-interest loans to fund part of Gigafactory 3’s construction. The government’s favor was evident when Tesla placed its bid on the 864,885-square meter plot of land in Shanghai’s Lingang Industrial Zone as well, as the company was able to secure the land without any rival bidders. Lastly, China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd, the company building the facility, is a subsidiary of China Construction, which is owned by the government.
This favor on Tesla was no more evident during Elon Musk’s recent visit to the country, though. After the groundbreaking ceremony for Gigafactory 3, Musk met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, who is widely considered as the country’s #2 after President Xi Jinping. During their talk, which was held at the Tower of Violet Light in Beijing — a place reserved for distinguished guests — Li openly listened to Musk’s ideas for Gigafactory 3, even the more ambitious ones such as making a facility that behaves similar to a “living being.” Li even lightly suggested that China can just issue Musk a “Chinese Green Card,” so that he can pursue his ideas in the country.
The timeframe for the construction of Gigafactory 3 is ambitious. Tesla aims to complete the initial construction of the facility by summer’s end. The company also intends to start the production of affordable Model 3 variants in the battery and electric car factory by the end of the year. Now that work has commenced on the factory’s site, though, Tesla’s aggressive timetable just became more feasible.
Watch the most recent footage of Gigafactory 3 in the video below.
Update: Vincent has provided a more extensive video from his recent drone flyover of Gigafactory 3.