Elon Musk takes battle to China; Gigafactory 3 to make 3,000 Tesla Model 3 cars a week

Elon Musk's dream project seems to be taking shape, with Tesla finally unveiling its first vehicles built in China on Monday, as the company gears up to start sales of its electric sedans in that country. The Made-in-China Model 3 is expected to hit China's domestic market anytime.

The first Made-in-China Model 3 sedans are in blue, with the brand name flashing boldly in Chinese characters. Selected local media were invited to test drive the vehicles. The Model 3 has been assembled in Tesla's new plant in Shanghai called Gigafactory 3.

The new vehicle is likely to be priced around $50,000. Although a special date for the sales of cars is yet to be announced, according to local media the vehicles could be available as early as end of this year.

Tesla is working with the local authorities to manufacturing certification for the model. Unlike the U.S. version of Model 3, the Made-in-China model will sport a different look, with unique badges at the rear. The left side bears Chinese characters, while on the right the words Model 3 is written in English.

This is also China's first car plant that is wholly owned by a foreign carmaker. Also, this is the electric carmaker's first plant outside the United States. The unveiling of the China-made Model 3 comes a couple of weeks after Tesla reported profits in the third quarter, after suffering losses since the beginning of 2018.

Testing Time for Tesla

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 Tesla

The new Gigafacory as well as the Model 3 will be crucial test for Musk given that the company is trying to bounce back and get into profit. China is the world's biggest market for new cars and the second biggest market for electric cars. Naturally, Tesla wants to capture the space early.

Elon Musk and his mother Maye Musk.
Elon Musk and his mother Maye Musk. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Moreover, the China government is also stressing on an all-electric conversion of cars at the earliest, which gives Tesla ample room to play although other U.S. auto giants like Ford and General Motors too have been trying to penetrate the electric car market in China.

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 broke ground only in January and started production in November ahead of its deadline of December. The company now plans to start sales in December.

Currently, the plant is producing cars in small quantities but all soon be meeting its production volume of 3,000 cars very week.