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Tesla is moving ahead with pre-production at its Chinese factory, according to new leaked photos believed to have been recently taken inside the U.S. electric vehicle maker’s Gigafactory in Shanghai.
A user posted a photo of at least three partially assembled Model 3s on Weibo, while another user commented that the cars were being assembled for trial runs, Chinese outlet the Global Times reports.
The photos believed to be taken inside the factory point to Tesla being on track to begin manufacturing 3,000 Model 3s a week by the end of 2019, Shanghai-based independent car analyst, Wu Shuocheng, told the Global Times on Thursday.
These photographs are the latest leaked pictures believed to have been taken inside the Gigafactory, which analysts interpret as Tesla being close to production start.
At the end of August, photographs believed to have been taken inside the Shanghai factory appeared to show production setup tests for what could be an imminent start of production of Model 3 in China.
At the beginning of this year, Tesla started the construction of a production facility in the world’s top EV market—China—in order to be able to compete on a level playing field with a growing number of local EV manufacturers. As a U.S.-made vehicle, Tesla’s cars in China have been subject to steep tariffs, and sales have suffered in recent months due to the U.S.-China trade war.
Tesla aims to finish the initial construction of the Shanghai Gigafactory this summer, begin production of Model 3 by the end of this year, and reach high-volume production next year, Musk wrote on Twitter in January.
In June, Electrek reported that Tesla’s third Gigafactory, the one that will provide it with a way around Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods, is being built “at an incredible speed.”
In July, Morgan Stanley said that Tesla could open its Chinese factory sooner than forecast, adding that it expects the U.S. electric vehicle maker to become “the leading luxury EV player in China.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.