Last Saturday, August 13, the milestone occurred, one million units were produced in Giga Shanghai. To understand the magnitude of this success, we must remember that the Tesla Chinese factory began to be built in January 2019, and in December of that year it already began to deliver its first cars. It has practically produced a million cars in two and a half years.
It was the first automobile factory in China with foreign capital and without a local partner. Tesla benefited from a legislative change that eliminated the 50/50 rule for being an electric car manufacturer. In 2022 the rule was changed for the other manufacturers, who were forced to produce with an existing Chinese manufacturer, share technology and know-how, etc.
If you want more comparisons, Tesla Fremont -with the invaluable help of Giga Nevada- has needed almost 10 years to produce two million units -excluding the Roadster-, although it is a tricky comparison. Another reference, Tesla produced its millionth car in March 2020, shortly before the COVID pandemic blowout, although by then Giga Shanghai had contributed part of that million. In any case, Tesla Fremont produced its second million between 2020 and 2022, which is still not bad at all.
In fairness, Fremont has so far been the most productive site historically, as the number of Tesla vehicles in the world exceeds three million, so Giga Shanghai has made about a third of the total (all Model 3/Y) and the rest Fremont. The collaboration of Giga Texas and Giga Berlin in these figures is still very small.
According to the latest quarterly report, Giga Shanghai can produce 750,000 units per year or more, although throughout July there was a capacity expansion and it may already exceed the capacity of one million units per year. One of the secrets of the enormous productivity of Giga Shanghai is, that apart from having a 99.9% local workforce, 95% of its suppliers are Chinese.
And that detail is not at all irrelevant, given the enormous control that China has over the supply chain of minerals and precursor materials for batteries. As in Fremont, the workers are not unionized, although I will not be the one to link that fact to productivity. By the way, like the 1,000,000th Tesla, the 1,000,000th in Shanghai was also a red Model 3, by any chance?