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Elon Musk to Surprise-Unveil the First “Made in China” Model 3

While it is no secret that Tesla CEO Elon Musk will be in Shanghai this week for the 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference, what may come as a surprise is he might be bringing along Tesla’s first “Made In China” Model 3 to the event.  Does this mean that Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 may be up and running even sooner than expected?

The Rumors

The latest buzz sprouted from Chinese social media sources at Weibo, only days after the release of the first ‘leaked’ photos of the Gigafactory 3’s interior on Twitter. 

Weibo user Master pen Tang Hu responded to the photos with his own claim that the Gigafactory 3 is already nearly ready to go into production.  Hu, a well-known Chinese blogger, posted a statement about the factory that can be roughly translated as follows:

“It is already in the state of trial installation. It is said that the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference on the 29th of Thursday will show the first Shanghai-made Model 3. Nine months from the open space to the factory to the product. Watch the best with the American Factory. PS: Such interesting things. I think there should be a documentary film crew in the “China Factory” in the past 9 months?”

First Tesla Model 3 Manufactured in China

If the rumor pans out, then this means that we could actually expect to see the first Chinese-manufactured Tesla Model 3 as soon as tomorrow, which is nothing short of incredible. 

Back in January, Musk revealed that he was expecting to see trial production of the Model 3 begin at the Gigafactory 3 by the end of 2019.  This aggressive timetable seemed almost impossible at the time, but Tesla’s construction crews have been working hard to make it happen. Amazingly, it has only been five months since the first pillar of the factory was set into place.

If we do see a Chinese Model 3 revealed in the next few days, it seems likely that it will not completely be “Made in China”.  Those recently released pictures show a factory that is still in the process of being put together, including some necessary workstations.  Some manufacturing substations would likely have to be imported as well for such a quick turnaround.  This means that some manufacturing of this potential Model 3 will have to be done by hand or through the use of imported parts.  Whether the possible reveal will be merely symbolic or truly a display of the factory’s ability to produce the electric cars remains to be seen.

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