Amid increasing reports surrounding the impending release of Tesla China’s $25K compact car, drone flyovers of the Gigafactory Shanghai complex have revealed that the electric car maker is now building what appears to be a new stamping area. The site located near the Phase 1 building, where the Model 3 is currently manufactured.
Recent footage from EV advocate Wu Wa, who has been following the Gigafactory Shanghai complex’s development for over two years now, indicates that Tesla has already made considerable progress in the new location. Initially, the drone operator was informed that the site was allotted for a casting workshop. However, the size of the project and the digging involved suggest that the location might be allocated for a stamping area instead.
The fact that the new workshop is being built practically as an extension to the existing Phase 1 zone has incited speculations from the electric car community, with some EV advocates noting that Tesla may be planning on building its upcoming $25K compact EV in the same building as the Made-in-China Model 3. These speculations seem quite plausible considering the recent stream of news that has emerged about the yet-to-be-announced vehicle.
Earlier this month, for example, Tesla China President Tom Zhu sat down with Chinese state media Xinhua Net, where he discussed several aspects of the company’s operations in the country. The topics he discussed involved the company’s $25K car, which Zhu confirmed would be designed through a dedicated R&D center in China and later sold worldwide.
“We will provide very good conditions to facilitate our R&D Engineers working towards our ultimate goal. The ultimate goal has been mentioned on many public occasions. In the future, we want to design, develop and produce an original model in China, manufactured here and sold to the whole world. This R&D center is the starting point of the goal,” the Tesla China President remarked.
Since then, other reports about the vehicle have been posted by local news outlets, with Sina Motors reporting that Tesla China has already started the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for its affordable car, which would be priced around RMB160,000 to RMB 200,000 (about $25,000 to $30,000). The publication added that the vehicles’ first batch would be testing soon, perhaps as early as the latter half of 2021.
While such a timeframe would be extremely aggressive, it should be noted that Tesla China has proven to be extremely quick with the buildout of its electric vehicle production facilities. The Phase 1 zone, where the Model 3 is being built, entered production within a yearsince its groundbreaking, and the same was true for the Phase 2 area, where the Made-in-China Model Y is being manufactured. If the $25K car’s facilities would be integrated with the Phase 1 area, then the idea of an initial batch of the compact EV being completed sometime this year definitely seems feasible.
Watch a flyover of Giga Shanghai’s new apparent stamping zone in the video below.