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08 January 2019, 08:45 | Austin Hogan
Matthew DeBord Business Insider
The Shanghai factory will be Tesla's first production line outside the United States.
Construction has officially begun on Tesla's new massive manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Shanghai, which, in the not too distant future, hopes to turn out half a million cars a year. On Twitter, he explained that his company's new "Gigafactory" would be focused on producing Tesla's most affordable models, the Model 3 and the yet-to-be-revealed Model Y, for sale in Greater China.
The carmaker, which now imports US-made vehicles to sell in China, is building the plant in an auto market that is set to contract this year for the first time in decades, though so-called new-energy vehicle (NEV) sales have been strong.
"Over the last six years, we have opened 60 Tesla locations, almost 1,500 Superchargers, and more than 1,850 destination chargers in the country", the CEO Elon Musksaid.
Musk was in Shanghai Monday to mark the official groundbreaking of Gigafactory 3, Tesla's first auto- and battery-assembly plant outside the U.S. Chinese consumers who have reserved the Model 3 can now configure it online, and the company expects deliveries for newly placed orders to start in March. "Aiming to finish initial construction this summer, start Model 3 production end of year & reach high volume production next year".
Tesla boss Elon Musk (left) walks with Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong during the ground-breaking ceremony for a Tesla factory in Shanghai on Jan 7, 2019.
Tesla said in October it had signed an agreement for a 210-acre (84-hectare) site in the Lingang district in southeastern Shanghai.
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"And the competition is getting more and more fierce".
China and the U.S. have been in a trade war for much of 2018 that has seen the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods between the world's two largest economies disrupted by tariffs.
The plant in a Shanghai suburb is Musk's biggest overseas move yet and will eventually have an annual production capacity of 500,000 vehicles, Tesla says, dramatically increasing the California-based company's output.
Domestic and foreign automakers have been racing to grab shares of China's electric-vehicle sector - already the world's biggest and expected to continue to grow as the Chinese government pushes clean technologies.
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