Tesla has received government approval to begin producing Model 3 electric cars at its new US$2-billion gigafactory in Shanghai, China.
“The start of production is going to be a major milestone, since it’s going to be the first electric vehicle factory wholly-owned by a foreign automaker in China, and Tesla’s second electric vehicle production factory,” industry publication Electrek reports.
The approval took the form of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology adding the gigafactory to the country’s list of approved auto manufacturers, Reuters reports. That decision means “the green light is fully given to Tesla for production in China,” said consultant Yale Zhang of Automotive Foresight.
“Tesla intends to produce at least 1,000 Model 3s a week from the Shanghai factory by the end of this year, as it tries to boost sales in the world’s biggest auto market and avoid higher import tariffs imposed on U.S. cars,” the news agency adds. But “it is unclear when it will meet year-end production targets because of uncertainties around orders, labour, and suppliers.”
“While Tesla has approval to officially start production whenever, it doesn’t mean they can,” Electrek writes. “Although we have seen evidence lately of Tesla making progress. Some leaks from inside the factory have shown Tesla setting up production lines and making body-in-white Model 3s.” And earlier this month, “a Tesla Model 3 was spotted on a new test track at the Gigafactory 3.