Tesla has officially started deliveries of the Model Y built in China. Meanwhile, preparations for the production of the European Model Y in Giga Berlin continue and it is looking like the plant could become larger than initially thought. There are also increasing indications that the Model S and Model X will soon be refreshed.
In China, invitations to an event were sent to selected Model Y buyers at the weekend, at which the first handovers were to take place at the Minghang Tesla Center in Shanghai. The event was scheduled for 18 January 2021 at 10:30 local time.
Series production of the Model Y at Giga Shanghai has been underway for several weeks. During this time, the car parks around the factory have apparently also filled up with vehicles apparently ready for delivery.
The carmaker has not yet revealed how many Model Y Tesla will be able to build in Shanghai in the first quarter. At the beginning of January, Chinese analysts speculated that up to 8,000 vehicles per week would be built in the Gigafactory 3, of which 5,000 would be Model 3s and already 3,000 Model Ys.
At Giga Berlin work is also progressing, where the Model Y for the European market is to be built from summer onwards. In the meantime, Tesla has also deposited the security deposit of 100 million euros required by Brandenburg’s State Environmental Agency to cover any dismantling costs. This means that no construction stop has to be imposed, which would of course hinder the progress of construction.
The plant could also become somewhat larger than previously thought: According to information in the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, Tesla has submitted a building application to the building authority of the Oder-Spree district for another large hall on the previous 300-hectare site in Grünheide, which is to be used for other purposes for a transitional period, but which is then to accommodate battery cell production for the Teslas manufactured next door.
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This hall could be the preliminary stage for the “world’s largest battery cell factory”, as announced by Elon Musk. Since then, there has been speculation about where in Grünheide Tesla wants to set up such a large cell production facility. The hall the size of three football fields could be the beginning. A spokesperson for the district administration confirmed to the newspaper that the application for a warehouse was received shortly before Christmas, but there is no application for a battery factory.
Tesla itself, however, is recruiting employees for the future cell production in Grünheide and Austin on Twitter with a short teaser video on the production of the new 4680 cells. Interested parties can apply by providing their name, an email address, a short self-assessment (“What exceptional work have you already done in engineering, manufacturing, materials, equipment or operations?”) and a CV in PDF format. However, concrete positions are not advertised on the page that Tesla links to in the tweet.
— Tesla (@Tesla) January 17, 2021
Meanwhile, there are indications that a refresh for Tesla Model S and Model X is imminent: according to information from Electrek, Tesla has instructed employees to sell the entire inventory of the “old” Model S and Model X in all markets by the end of January.
Since, according to Electrek, a “significant update” is imminent, Tesla is apparently aiming to have no more Model S and X of the current specification in its inventory by the end of the month. The electric vehicle news site, which is usually well-informed on Tesla matters, estimates that this is, in fact, achievable: “as Tesla has not produced any new Model S and X for nearly a month as lines for its flagship electric sedan and SUV have been shut down”. Tesla had reportedly halted production lines for the two large model lines on 14 December. Rumours of a major design and possibly technology update have been lingering for some time.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.