Gigafactory 3

Tesla Gigafactory 3 and TSLAQ 2019 Recap: From Muddy Fields to Model 3 Production

Tesla Gigafactory 3 and TSLAQ 2019 Recap: From Muddy Fields to Model 3 Production

As 2019 comes to an end, the TSLA community has started looking back at Gigafactory 3’s journey throughout the year and the TSLAQ attack it had endured and overcome--for now. TSLA shorts haven’t given up their campaign against the Shanghai factory and continue to question if GF3 actually works. A look back at TSLAQ’s GF3 predictions will hopefully give them some perspective—or not. Either way, though, it’ll be fun to look over Gigafactory 3’s accomplishments in 2019.

January to March 2019

TSLAQ Reality

In January 2019, Elon Musk flew to China for Gigafactory 3’s ground-breaking ceremony. He claimed that the Shanghai branch would be operational by the end of the year, and the TSLAQ sniggered on the sidelines. TSLA shorts laughed at GF3’s muddy field, and for three months straight, they would push that narrative.

Amusingly, a lot of alleged construction “experts” from the TSLAQ side emerged during this time. Many argued that it was impossible to build a car factory in a year, with some stating that it takes at least three years to build one the size of GF3’s Phase 1 zone.

Real Reality 

Before the ground-breaking ceremony, the Tesla China team had already started preparing GF3's site for construction. If TSLAQ had seen that same spot in September or October 2018, they would have been looking at vegetable fields near a river.

Ultimately, the “muddy field" narrative that TSLAQ was pushing could really only be taken seriously until the end of February. By March, the first pillars of what would be GF3’s Phase 1 were up. Once the posts were set, Gigafactory 3’s buildout only accelerated. 

April to June 2019

TSLAQ Reality

By April, TSLAQ seemed to realize that “Gigafactory 3 doesn’t exist, and the whole site is just a muddy field” would be a tough narrative to push. Thus, for Q2 2019, the Tesla short narrative for the Shanghai-based plant shifted. They alleged that the electric car maker and its construction partner were building GF3 "wrong."

When news of Gigafactory 3’s initial tooling phases emerged, for example, TSLAQ quickly jumped on the news. Bears argued that tooling was not possible because the tiny parts of the factory that were visible from drone flyovers did not have concrete floors yet. When news emerged that Tesla and its construction partner were following a 24/7 work schedule, TSLAQ argued that such a move was a waste of time, since concrete won’t set properly if the whole site is being worked on all the time.

Real Reality 

Gigafactory 3’s buildout accelerated in Q2 2019. During these three months, the massive facility grew from being a site with a few pillars on the ground to a full-blown factory shell. Roofing was started in April, and by May, there was already talk of interior work beginning. Initial tooling started in June, some images of which were shared by Tesla in its Q2 2019 Update Letter.

Interestingly, the construction activities in the Gigafactory 3 complex started expanding by June 2019. The southwest substation, which would help power the entire GF3 complex, started its buildout in June. Sightings from drone operators following the growth of the facility also revealed workers from robotics companies being deployed to the Gigafactory 3 site. 

July to September 2019

TSLAQ Reality

By Q3 2019, TSLAQ really had no choice but to quietly accept that a giant electric car factory was growing by the week in Shanghai. Thus, at this stage, some bears became quite hopeful that a natural disaster would strike GF3 dead. TSLAQ had long mocked Tesla for building Gigafactory 3 on “swampland.”

Typhoon Lekima, one of the strongest typhoons that has hit China in recent years, seemed to be a saving grace for TSLAQ. Bears had hoped that the incoming storm would a devastate Tesla's Gigafactory 3. Unfortunately for TSLA shorts, Gigafactory 3 proved durable enough to escape any damages from the storm, weathering the typhoon with barely a scratch.

Later on during the quarter, images of Model 3 in Gigafactory 3’s assembly lines were leaked online. Like clockwork, TSLAQ insisted that the photos were fake. They asserted that the Model 3 pictures were actually from the Fremont factory, despite the photos showing a hall still under construction and Gigafactory 3’s unmistakable roof trusses. 

Real Reality 

The construction of Gigafactory 3 made a ton of progress in Q3 2019. The interior was tooled for initial production, and the first China-made Model 3 was assembled on site. The facility also received visits from government officials, many of whom were impressed with the speed of GF3’s buildout.

Apart from this, Q3 2019 also saw the first batch of Gigafactory 3 workers start working in the facility. By the end of Q3, it was evident that trial production of the Model 3 would happen before 2020. As China helped Tesla accelerate its permits, Elon Musk’s goal of having Gigafactory 3 operational before the end of 2019 seemed to be more and more feasible. 

October to December 2019

TSLAQ Reality 

By October 2019, the most dedicated TSLAQ were still proclaiming that Gigafactory 3 was nothing but a fluke or at least a fake factory with no manufacturing equipment inside. Others remained silent, but anti-China product sentiments against the MIC Model 3 started to surface in October and November.

During and after the ceremonial MIC Model 3 delivery event, TSLAQ were still pushing the narrative that the locally-made Tesla sedans were actually shipped from the Fremont factory and that the facility built on the site was not really operational. They still believe that the MIC Model 3s seen in GF3's parking lot were just slapped with Chinese logos to differentiate the supposed "China-made EV" with those manufactured in the United States. 

Real Reality

Gigafactory 3 has been working hard since Tesla China was greenlit to sell and deliver the MIC Model 3. In fact, GF3’s output is closing in on 2,000 electric sedans a week. The first deliveries of the Made-in-China Model 3 were completed before the end of December. The event was highlighted by a GF3 worker who opted to propose to his partner during the event.

Contrary to the TSLAQ narrative, the locally-made Model 3 isn’t made in Fremont. According to GF3 Senior Official Xue Juncheng, 30 percent of MIC Model 3 supplies are locally sourced, and 100 percent of the supplies are expected to come from China-based suppliers by the end of 2020.

Tesla China has had to endure TSLAQs' false and sometimes demeaning claims about Gigafactory 3 for all of 2019. Fortunately, the China-based Tesla team seems as tough as those in the HQ back in the United States. Despite all the FUD TSLAQ tries to spread, Tesla China has managed to get Gigafactory 3 up and running within a year and is ready to take on 2020 right beside Musk and the rest of the Tesla community.

Featured Image Credit: Wuwa Vision/YouTube and Jason Yang/YouTube

About the Author

Claribelle Deveza

Claribelle Deveza

Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.

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