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Tesla's Shanghai plant suspends operations amid virus outbreak

Hu Yumo
The company's Gigafactory has been temporarily shut down in response to government orders. The move will delay Tesla's production of Model 3 vehicles.
Hu Yumo

Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory has been temporarily shut down amid the new coronavirus epidemic, which will delay the company’s production of Model 3 vehicles, the company said.

Tesla finance chief Zach Kirkhorn said in a call with investors that "the production of Chinese-made Model 3 will be delayed by a week and a half and the shutdown may slightly impact the company’s profitability in the first quarter of 2020." 

Kirkhorn added that the electric carmaker doesn’t expect too big of a financial hit, though, as the Shanghai-produced Model 3 only represents a fraction of the company’s quarterly profits.

On Monday, Shanghai announced that no company, except for those deemed indispensable, should start work before February 10. Tesla is one of the companies complying with the Chinese government’s order, which requires work facilities to remain shut down before that time.

Tesla delivered its first China-made Model 3s to general customers in early January. Tesla's Shanghai team has also started work on Model Y prototypes.

Tesla has not responded to Shanghai Daily's inquiries about when the Shanghai plant might resume operation. According to the official WeChat account of Tesla, the company said it will donate 5 million yuan (US$72.3 million) in special funds to assist the Chinese government in supporting the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations to respond to the outbreak.

At the same time, Tesla will allocate 5 million yuan in energy-costs subsidies for car owners to use supercharger stations for free during the outbreak.

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