Electric-car giant Tesla will build an electric-car assembly and battery factory in Shanghai, reported Robin Ren, the company's head for worldwide sales, at the annual shareholders' meeting.
The plan was settled following removal of the 50% stake ceiling for foreign investors in electric-car and hybrid-car plants, announced by the Chinese government on April 17. Tesla and other electric-car brands can skip tariffs by building factories in China.
In order to turn out lower-cost electric cars, Tesla will have to build production lines in every continent. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, noted that the projected Shanghai plant, dubbed "Dreadnought," will handle battery production and electric-car assembly, while the company's Gigafactory in Nevada is dedicated to production of household energy storage systems and electric-car battery and the California factory undertakes electric-car assembly, for Model S, Model X, and Model 3.
At the shareholders' meeting, Musk reported that the company is expected to attain the target of turning out 5,000 Model 3 cars a week by the end of June, up from 3,500 now.
Musk noted the company has broken the production bottleneck for Model 3, by increasing the share of manual works to supplement robotic operation, which focuses on more complicated works, overcoming the mistaken of excessive reliance on automated technology initially.
Musk also revealed information on a new entry-level model SUV Model Y, which will be publicized in March 2019 before mass production within two years.
The project comes on the heels of another project constructing an electric-car factory in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, announced by the company in 2017. As the first wholly-owned auto venture in China, the project aims to cut sales prices of Tesla cars in the country, via reduction of transportation cost and support of local supply chain. Output of the factory, however, will be subject to 25% tariff for shipment into China's domestic market.
Thanks to Chinese government's supportive policy, including establishment of extensive network of battery-charging stations, sales of electric cars are expected to top 7 million units by 2025, compared with 780,000 in 2017, half of the global amount.
(Written by Daisy Chuang)