Photo: Budget Direct Car Insurance
Tesla has received environmental report approval for Gigafactory Shanghai that shows that new manufacturing processes have been added for a “new model early launch project.” It may indicate not only that the company has already developed a new model, but also intends to begin production soon.
On January 29, 2021, Tesla in China received approval for an environmental impact report from the Lingang Area Development and Construction Management Committee. This means that the start of a Phase 2 plant, where the production of the new model would begin, has been approved. Tesla's environmental impact report shows that manufacturing processes such as stamping, painting, welding, and final assembly of electric vehicles have been added to the project. Once completed, the project will add manufacturing facilities for Model 3, Model Y and "related derived models."
The report states that the project will be built on the existing site and the new land will not be used. This project is a transformation and expansion project with increased production capacity for the new model.
The report mentions that the new model referred to in the document will be produced directly in China, and not at the factory in California, despite the fact that in the past, all new models of the company were produced only there. Thus, this is a “new model early launch project."
The project will carry out tests related to the launch of a new model and research work at the existing plant, including testing of important equipment and manufacturing processes. According to the document, the testing cycle is about six months for verification, coordination of parts and functions, etc.
In January 2020, Tesla announced that it would open a research and development center in China to build an original, Chinese-designed Tesla, tailored to the local market. Since then, Tesla China has already announced the recruitment of employees for the R&D center several times. The new model, developed by Chinese designers, is expected to be Tesla's compact and affordable (around $25,000) electric vehicle.
In early January 2021, Tesmanian reported that in September 2020, according to rumors, Tesla had already developed a new car model, and would soon be ready to start production at its Giga Shanghai. The affordable compact car was expected to be produced and delivered in 2022. The new model is based on the Model 3 chassis, which could speed up and simplify the launch of production, which is consistent with information from the new documents.
The new model, slated to begin production in Giga Shanghai, could also be what Tesla called "Future Product" in its Q4 2020 earnings report. Documents and the construction of new buildings that are now taking place on the territory of the Chinese factory hint that rumors and guesses related to this may be true.
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