Recent images taken of Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 site has shown that the first steel pillar of an upcoming general assembly building has been built. Together with this milestone are reports indicating that a Model 3 invasion is now taking place, with deliveries going fully underway in China.
The initial steel pillar from Gigafactory 3 was celebrated on the site, with the reportedly 11.5-meter, 10.8-ton column being inaugurated with a congratulatory message that roughly translates to “Congratulations to Tesla Gigafactory for successfully installing the first steel pillar in Phase One” (credit to Tesla community member Ray Yu on Twitter for providing the translation). The background of the Gigafactory 3 column also suggests that the preparations for further construction on the land are all but completed, which would help the company meet its target of finishing the initial construction of the facility by May.
Apart from Gigafactory 3’s first column, Tesla also appears to be incredibly busy in China as it continues large-scale deliveries of the Model 3. Images shared in local social media platforms have shown car carriers full of Model 3 making their way to delivery centers, as well as parking lots filled with the electric sedan. Pictures of Model 3 owners reportedly bringing aftermarket floor mats with them during delivery also hint at the enthusiasm and excitement of the Chinese market for the vehicle.
Tesla’s Model 3 push in China encountered a brief challenge earlier this month, when Shanghai’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) temporarily stopped deliveries of the vehicle due to incorrect labels on the electric cars. Since getting the labeling issue resolved, Tesla has been going on full throttle to continue its China Model 3 deliveries.
Tesla’s push into China will likely have to rely on higher-priced Model 3 variants such as the Dual Motor AWD and Performance versions for the next couple of quarters. Fortunately for Tesla, both vehicles are very competitive in their respective segments, with the Model 3 Performance being more budget-friendly and more powerful than popular high-performance sedans such as the BMW M3, which cost far more than the electric car in China.
While the Model 3 invasion is already starting in the world’s largest electric car market, Tesla’s full strategy in China will only come full circle by the end of this year, when the company starts producing affordable versions of the Model 3, and later, the Model Y, in the Shanghai factory. Elon Musk is aiming for vehicle production to begin at Gigafactory 3 as soon as the end of 2019. Barring any unforeseen delays, interested electric car buyers in the country should be able to purchase the Standard Model 3 (perhaps even the Standard Plus) at a price that’s almost comparable to local electric car brands by next year.