Production resumes at the Shanghai Gigafactory

Image: Tesla

Tesla’s Shanghai plant has apparently resumed suspended production. According to a media report, battery and motor production is up and running again and vehicle assembly is being gradually increased. It is unclear how long the factory’s inventory will last.

++ This article has been updated. Kindly continue reading below. ++

“We’ll have capacity gradually climbing over the next three to four days until a single shift is running at full capacity,” said Song Gang, senior director of manufacturing at Tesla Giga Shanghai. The CN EV Post, among others, has reported on the events. No cars have been built at the plant since the end of March.

On Good Friday, the Shanghai municipal government published a list of 666 companies that are to be prioritised when production is resumed or continued – this list includes Tesla as well as other carmakers and important suppliers. Since Easter Monday, the first workers are said to have returned to Giga Shanghai.

The resumption of production is a so-called ‘closed-loop management’. The workers will not leave the factory until at least the end of the month and will also sleep there. Workers are to be provided with sleeping bags and three free meals a day – as well as the equivalent of $63 more in wages per day.

However, it is not only the supply for the employees that has to be built up, but also the parts supply for the production. As Song Gang has already announced, Tesla wants to run only one shift for the time being instead of the two-shift system that was previously the norm. On Twitter, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo calculated that Tesla would probably only be able to produce 40 to 50 cars per hour (calculated over 24 hours) with one shift – instead of the usual 80 to 85 vehicles. At this rate of production, the stocked parts should be sufficient for about two and a half weeks.

However, Chinese media, citing Tesla, report that the stockpiled parts should only be sufficient for about one week. Therefore, the company is actively urging more than 100 suppliers to resume their own production – with the support of the authorities in Shanghai.

With the 40 to 50 vehicles per hour, Tesla could build between 25,000 and 30,000 vehicles per month, according to the analyst’s projection. However, with ten days left in April and the gradual ramp-up, it is likely to be less than 10,000 vehicles this month. Kuo estimates that Tesla could “at best” switch back to a two-shift system in mid-May.

Update 10 May 2022

Tesla may have to halt most of its production at its Shanghai plant due to problems sourcing parts. As Reuters writes, citing an internal Tesla memo, fewer than 200 e-cars are expected to be built in Shanghai on Tuesday, far less than the roughly 1,200 units per day the plant ramped it up to shortly after reopening on April 19 following a 22-day closure.

A little later, a Tesla spokesperson apparently indicated to Bloomberg that Giga Shanghai had not stopped production. However, Reuters had also reported not a halt in production, but a sharp reduction in the number of units produced during the day.

The Tesla spokesperson simply confirmed that Tesla had experienced some disruptions and logistical problems in China due to Covid-19 lockouts. For example, Aptiv stopped supplying wiring harnesses to Tesla and General Motors after some employees were infected with the virus. The supplier itself confirmed last week that Aptiv is now supplying Tesla again.

If the Reuters information is correct, the planned increase to 2,600 cars per day from 16 May is probably in doubt. Tesla’s denial would suggest otherwise., (update)


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