Tesla anticipates increasing the production capacity of its Shanghai Gigafactory to pre-lockdown levels around mid-May, but it has not disclosed specific target figures, local media outlet Yicai reported on May 7, citing individuals familiar with the matter.
Wu Qiang, the deputy head of Shanghai Pudong New Area, said at a press conference on May 7 that Tesla had rolled off 10,000 vehicles as of April 30 since it resumed operations on April 19.
At present, the Shanghai Gigafactory is still gradually improving output by operating on a single shift. Before a COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai initiated mass lockdowns in late March, workers at the plant adopted three shifts, so the production capacity of a single shift is still only about one third of that before the lockdowns.
According to the data from the China Passenger Car Association, Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory assembled a total of 55,462 vehicles in March this year, and had stopped production for about six days that month.
“We still have many orders that have not been produced and delivered. It is imperative to increase production capacity as soon as possible,” one source said. Tesla sales staff said that at present, it takes at least six months to receive a car after placing an order.
At present, Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory mainly produces Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. In the first quarter of this year, the automaker’s sales in China increased by 56%. Last year, the factory delivered a total of 484,100 electric vehicles, becoming Tesla’s most important export center globally.
“We have full confidence in China’s economy,” said Tao Lin, Vice President of Tesla. “The epidemic is only a short test and challenge. From the process of the current production resumption, we have seen China’s ability to cope with challenges and we believe that normality will soon return.”
Tao added that the automobile industry has a very long industrial chain, and that its suppliers will also need to resume work in order for Tesla to ensure stable and continuous production.
The complexity of the supply chain is the biggest challenge that leads Tesla and other automobile manufacturers to resume production. Tesla released a financial report last month, saying that due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, its Shanghai Gigafactory lost its output for about one month (about 50,000 vehicles). However, it is still expected that output in the second quarter will be equivalent to that in the first quarter.
In addition, the resumption of production at Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory has received strong support from local government. A Tesla source said that the government has sent special personnel to live in the office to assist in related work, so as to ensure Tesla’s production can return to normal as soon as possible.