Leaked images and footage from Gigafactory 3's interior suggest that Tesla is already making the necessary preparations for sample production of its Made-in-China Model 3 in the massive Shanghai-based facility. The installation of production equipment and robots inside Gigafactory 3 is also underway.
The latest leaks from Gigafactory 3 were shared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo by electric car enthusiast Battery King _ (电池 王 _). Overall, the images show a section of Gigafactory 3 that was almost complete, although the floors and walls in the area still appeared to be bare concrete. The lighting seems to be finished and the installation of production equipment is in full swing.
Oddly enough, the recent leaks are images of two partially built Model 3 in an assembly line. It is unknown whether the two electric sedan panels were stamped on site or whether the vehicles were only assembled at the facility from supplied components, but regardless, the fact that Tesla is already beginning trial collections of the Model 3 in its China Gigafactory is nothing short of incredible.
Another noticeable aspect of the play video and images is the space that appeared to be available on the factory floor even with the Model 3 mounting line in place. Given that the images were only taken on a section of an otherwise guaranteed facility, and the site tool is only partially complete, it is not difficult to see the massive facility producing far more Model 3 than expected when it goes online. [1
Exceeding the expected initial production of Gigafactory 3 is likely to be easier than expected, especially given that Wall Street has given the plant a particularly conservative production forecast. Back in July, for example, Morgan Stanley released an otherwise positive report on Tesla stating that the Shanghai-based site could go online as early as November.
Surprisingly, analyst Adam Jonas noted that based on their research, Morgan Stanley expects Gigafactory 3 to produce 35,000-40,000 Model 3 by 2020, with the facility expanding production to 60,000 units annually by 2021. There are only 673-769 Model 3 per week in 2020 and 1,150 Model 3 per week in 2021. Considering the size of Gigafactory 3, as well as the fact that 1150 Model 3 per week is in the same ballpark as production from the spring-loaded Structure-based GA4 in Fremont, Morgan Stanley's estimate may end up being get far away.
This is especially noteworthy given that Gigafactory 3's transformer station is expected to go live already next month. The recent drone overpasses from the Gigafactory 3 complex show that the transformer station is already taking shape and may be nearing completion in the next few weeks. By preventing unexpected delays, Gigafactory 3 could come alive in late September.
During Gigafactory 3's groundbreaking ceremony last January, Elon Musk noted that sample production runs of the Model 3 could begin at the China-based site at the end of the year. Given the speed of Gigafactory 3's development, as well as the fact that preparations for the trial run of the Model 3 production run are already underway, Elon Musk's estimate may prove to be conservative.