Tesla delivers first China-made Model 3s
Tesla delivered the first batch of Model 3 vehicles built at its Shanghai factory on Monday, moving the US electric carmaker one step closer to mass production in China.
The company delivered 15 vehicles to employees at its Gigafactory 3 plant in Shanghai. Tesla said that it plans to ramp up deliveries in January with sales expected to start early next year.
Tesla broke ground on its Shanghai factory on January 7 this year, becoming the first to benefit from a new policy allowing foreign automakers to set up wholly owned subsidiaries in China.
Tesla said the second batch of locally produced Model 3 vehicles will soon be delivered to customers and probably ahead of the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.
The China-made Model 3 vehicles, with autopilot functions, cost 355,800 yuan (US$50,923) before subsidies. Imported Model 3 vehicles start at 439,000 yuan for the longer-range version.
Tesla's factory in the Lingang New Area of the China（Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone is its first superfactory outside the US.
About 11 months after construction began, the factory began trial production and the company took pre-orders for Model 3 vehicles on its official website. Twenty days later, the first batch of Model 3s were available nationwide for test drives.
Tesla previously said deliveries from the Shanghai factory would be in the first quarter of 2020.
Delivery was earlier than expected because production had been smoother than expected. Tesla said “no difficulties were encountered and the vehicles were delivered at the pace.”
Tesla also appreciated the Shanghai government for its support and assistance.
Shanghai worked closely with Tesla to speed up construction of the factory to reflect the city's good business environment for enterprises.
Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, praised the work of Tesla’s China team during a visit in August when he said: “Tesla's Shanghai factory is progressing at a great speed. Tesla's China team has done an amazing job and I'm astounded that so much progress has been made for the Shanghai Gigafactory.”
Tesla hopes to produce 1,000 cars a week at the Shanghai plant soon, eventually ramping up to annual production of 150,000 vehicles. The company said that currently all the locally-made sedans made in Gigafactory 3 are considered sold, including those at delivery centers and waiting in the factory's parking lot.
Tesla’s locally-produced Model 3 vehicles will compete with local electric car makers, including Chinese electric car startups NIO and Xpeng Motors, as well as global brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
During the delivery ceremony at the Shanghai plant, one of the new Model 3 owners proposed.