Multiple Model 3 units were spotted in Gigafactory 3, which may be an indication of the factory’s progress. The supposed made-in-China Model 3 units were captured on video by YouTuber and drone operator Jason Yang.
The progress of Gigafactory 3 in China seems to be going at lightning speed, given that its Phase 1 area was completed in September. The factory will be the most recent step Tesla has made in its long, arduous journey towards a sustainable car industry. To really appreciate Gigafactory 3’s significance in Tesla’s overall mission, however, we’d need to look back.
The History of Tesla’s Factories
The electric car maker has simple roots, which can be traced through the various garages and factories it has used to build the Roadster, the Model S, Model 3, and Model X. Before the Gigafactories, Tesla just made one electric car, dubbed the Roadster. Based on a documentary titled, Revenge of the Electric Car, the Tesla Roadster was built by hand in small garage-type rooms.
Elon Musk’s master plan was to sell the Roadster, so Tesla could support the development and manufacturing of the Model S and Model X. When it came time to do that, however, Tesla needed more space. So, Musk and other Tesla executives looked for a new home, and they found the NUMMI plant, now known as Tesla’s Fremont factory.
Tesla didn’t have an easy time acquiring the mostly-abandoned factory, and it was a risky venture for the small company to take back then. Fremont was actually too big for the electric automaker when Tesla bought it. It was more than 300 acres with many abandoned buildings, but it was affordable, and Tesla needed to start production for the Model S.
Tesla’s hardships didn’t end after acquiring the Fremont factory, though. During the production of the Model S, manufacturing complications caused a delay in deliveries. When the company moved on to the Model X, there were issues with the production of the futuristic all-electric SUV. Model X deliveries were also delayed.
Tesla endured through the complications with the Model S and Model X production lines until everything was resolved. Then, the company was finally earning enough to enact phase two of Elon Musk’s Master Plan, which was for the Model S and Model X earnings to support the production of the Model 3 and Model Y.
The Model 3 is its own beast. It’s probably the most significant component in reaching Tesla’s goal. The sedan is by far the most affordable vehicle in Tesla’s line up. As such, Musk and the other Tesla executives knew more units of the Model 3 would be produced than any other car the company had made before, and the company needed to make more investments to do so.
The Tesla Model 3’s production brought about its own problems. The main issue, however, was with its assembly line. CEO Elon Musk had a vision for the Model 3 line that was hyper-automated, but the company’s automated solutions were proving inefficient. Ultimately, the company had to adapt on the fly, with Tesla settling on a mix between machine and man for its Model 3 production.
The company also explored out-of-the-box solutions to help boost its numbers, the most notable of which is GA4, a simple, yet novel assembly line set up in the grounds of the Fremont factory. GA4 played a crucial role in allowing Tesla to ramp Model 3 production, which, in turn, played an essential part in Q3 2018’s profitability.
This day nine years ago Tesla opened its factory in Fremont. Tesla started production with 1,000 workers. Today, more than 10,000 employees work at the Fremont factory. Here is @elonmusk inaugurating the factory https://t.co/bviiBg6mh9 such a crazy ride! #fremontBirthday pic.twitter.com/ITzOsh11Pf— Tesletter (@tesletter) October 27, 2019
From Fremont to Gigafactory 3
It was just nine years ago when Tesla bought the Fremont Factory, and now Gigafactory 3 is continuing its work in Asia. The factory in China was made with the culmination of knowledge Tesla has gained from mishaps and successes in Fremont and Giga 1.
Tesla China received its production certification from the Chinese government at the beginning of October, and there are already multiple sightings of possible early production Model 3’s in Gigafactory 3. First, there was footage of a Model 3 on a test run captured by Wuwa Vision. Now there seem to be at least ten Model 3 units parked in the lot and an additional two near the test track.
Tesla China is just waiting for its sales certification. But a recent teaser from the company hints that it could arrive any day now. The teaser announced the delivery date and price of the made-in-China Model 3.
Gigafactory 3 is an essential milestone for Tesla since it could very well predict the company’s future in the global market. After the Q3 2019 earnings results were released, bears remained hesitant about Tesla’s profitability, with some believing the Q3 earnings are not sustainable.
But maybe TSLA bears need to take a look at Tesla’s past before they dictate its future. Tesla has endured many disappointments and negative criticisms. It has always worked hard to overcome obstacles and become more efficient. Tesla persevered back then, and it continues to do so now with Gigafactory 3.
About the Author
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.