Tesla kicks off construction of its Shanghai Gigafactory

Image: Reuters/Yilei Sun
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Tesla is working around the clock to build its first overseas Gigafactory in Shanghai, which is expected to finish initial construction in the summer and start production in the second half of this year, according to CEO Elon Musk today (Jan. 7).

The factory will focus on manufacturing Model 3 and Model Y cars for sale in the “greater China region,” but not for North America, Musk said in a series of tweets. When completed, Tesla expects the 200-acre factory (paywall) to produce 250,000 vehicles annually. China is Tesla’s largest overseas market.

Musk tweeted last month that he planned to visit Shanghai for the event. Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a comment request from Quartz.

Musk’s visit comes as China and the US kick off two days of trade talks in Beijing. Tesla’s $2 billion project in Shanghai first came into light in late 2017, and while Musk was initially vague about the production timeline, the US-China trade war has pushed Tesla to accelerate its plans in the country especially as its car-prices see-sawed in China.

Tesla registered two firms in the free-trade zone of Shanghai last year, one for car manufacturing and sales, the other for financial leasing services. Musk also visited Shanghai to attend a signing ceremony between Tesla and the Shanghai government in July, just after the first round of US-China tariffs went into effect.