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Leaked Photos Suggest Tesla’s China Production May Start Soon

Photographs believed to have been taken inside Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai appear to show production setup tests for what could be an imminent start of production of Model 3 in China.

Photos from Tesla’s Chinese factory posted on Chinese social media show that the U.S. electric vehicle maker has already installed some of the production lines, Electrek reports.

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.

In January this year, Musk joined the mayor of Shanghai for the groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla’s first factory outside the U.S. and in the world’s largest EV market, China.

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 on the day of the event 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.” 

Last month, 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.” 

Last week, reports emerged that Tesla is at an advanced stage of talks with South Korea’s LG Chem to use batteries other than Panasonic’s for the electric vehicles it would be manufacturing at its Chinese factory. The talks for battery supply with LG Chem are seen as a move toward diversifying Tesla’s suppliers as Panasonic is currently its exclusive battery cells supplier.

As early as in November last year, Elon Musk said that Tesla would likely source battery cells from several suppliers for its Chinese production in order to meet demand in a timely manner.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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