Even after being hit with a slew of negative news and rumors, Tesla continues to tease the public as media reported on March 10 that the company intends to increase the capacity of its Shanghai plant as well as produce new models in the same plant.
The first batch of 15 Tesla Model 3 (China Spec) were officially delivered to customers at the Shanghai Super Factory last December 30, 2019, taking less than a year to go from construction to delivery. In the midst of the COVID outbreak, the Tesla Shanghai plant was the earliest among automobile companies to resume operations in the whole of China, with work restarted last February 10. The Management Committee of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone Linggang New Area also provided a solution to the housing problem for 600 new Tesla employees as well as provided emergency supplies such as 10,000 emergency masks and two thermometers.
The early resumption of operations helped Tesla’s production output recover quickly. Last month, the company’s Shanghai Plant produced 3898 units of its Model 3 car, surpassing BYD for the first time to take the top spot in China’s new energy vehicle production. On March 10, founder Elon Musk, noted in Twitter about the company’s milestone achievement of 1 millionth vehicle off the line. Complaints within China as well as recent stock declines appear not to have dampened Tesla’s plans.
The Tesla Shanghai plant currently operates on a single shift system with a production capacity of about 2,000 units per week according to the financial investment institution. Tesla will start a second shift this month with production set to increase to 3,500 units weekly. The total output for the year is projected to reach 170,000 units.
In addition to the Model 3, Tesla plans to produce its Model Y at the same plant starting in January 2021 with a target annual capacity of 250,000 units. Robustly growing global demand has spurred these efforts at capacity improvements.
Last year, Tesla’s global sales reached 367,800 units. This year, the company raised its delivery target to 500,000 units. The problem at the moment is that there is “no car to sell,” rather than “no one to buy.”
The speedy way things were done at the Shanghai plant has raised hopes that the company’s German plant which is under construction will “respect nature and work as quickly as possible within the scope of the law.” On March 9, some media reported that Tesla Germany factory projects are expected to change Germany’s cumbersome approval process. Eric, Stone, chairman of the German Brandenburg Social Democratic Party, said in an interview that they are hoping to bring the Tesla effect to all parts of the country so that Germany “can operate as efficiently as Tesla.”