At Tesla’s Investor Day held on March 1, the electric vehicle manufacturer shared a series of business plans for future developments in R&D and manufacturing. Tom Zhu, the global vice president of Tesla and head of Greater China, explained Tesla’s gigafactory situation.
The success of Tesla China under Zhu’s leadership garnered Elon Musk’s appreciation. Since late last year, news of Zhu’s increasing responsibilities within Tesla circulated widely. Zhu’s important tasks within Tesla included overseeing the Shanghai Gigafactory as well as Tesla’s sales in North America and Europe. Additionally, Zhu led manufacturing at Tesla’s new gigafactory in Austin.
Zhu’s appearance at the Investor Day event further confirmed him as a key figure in Tesla manufacturing.
Zhu’s purview includes Tesla’s global production and delivery. “I joined Tesla in 2014 and was responsible for Tesla’s business in Greater Tesla and Asia Pacific. Today, on behalf of all gigafactories, I will talk about how we can build more cars faster,” said Zhu, wearing a black T-shirt with the outline of Tesla gigafactory.
“Tesla is improving its production chain, in which batteries for electric vehicles are of key importance. We are looking for opportunities to increase production capacity, which is currently two million vehicles per year. Just this morning at the factory in Texas, Tesla made its four millionth car. The milestone from three million vehicles to four million vehicles was accomplished in less than seven months,” Zhu said in his speech.
In 2019, Tesla spent nine and a half months building a gigafactory in Shanghai and started production and delivery three months later. “We have done a lot of simplification and deletion. There were a lot of redundancies in the production process buffer zones before, and we have removed them. If others can’t do a task well, we will consider bringing it in-house. We have made a lot of improvements,” Zhu explained.
Under Zhu’s leadership, the Shanghai Gigafactory has become the pillar of Tesla’s global manufacturing. More than half of the 936,000 Tesla electric vehicles produced in 2021 came from the Shanghai Gigafactory. In August 2022, Musk noted that Tesla had made over three million electric vehicles in total, of which one million were from the Shanghai Gigafactory. In November of that year, the Shanghai Gigafactory set a monthly production record of 100,000 vehicles.
Zhu mentioned that Tesla is seeking to build more gigafactories around the world. He stressed that Tesla can build factories very quickly through many optimizations, such as building the factory team. He also noted that a new daily production record was set at the Fremont factory.