Tesla’s Shanghai factory adds back second shift, restoring manufacturing capacity to level before citywide lockdown: sources
- The Giga Shanghai has been running with two shifts a day since late last week, according to people familiar with the situation
- Tesla has lost about 50,000 vehicles in production due to reduced shifts at Giga Shanghai between March 28 and April 18 amid lockdowns
Tesla has put two shifts back into operation at its factory in Shanghai, restoring manufacturing capacity to the level before local authorities imposed a citywide lockdown on April 1 to combat an outbreak of Covid-19.
The Gigafactory 3, also known as Giga Shanghai, is once again able to assemble about 2,600 electric vehicles a day, according to two industry officials with knowledge of the plant’s status who declined to be named as they are not authorised to talk with the media.
This follows weeks of single shift “closed loop” operations at the factory, whereby workers had to sleep on site to avoid contact with outsiders and be tested daily for possible Covid-19 infection.
The Giga Shanghai has been running with two shifts a day since late last week, according to the people familiar, after the US carmaker secured support from local authorities, the necessary components from its vendors and arranged enough space to quarantine workers before they returned to the factory.
Before it resumed a two-shift operation at the Shanghai factory, Tesla isolated many workers in disused factories and an old military camp to ensure they were free of Covid-19, Bloomberg reported last week.
David Zhang, a researcher at the North China University of Technology, said that while a single shift operation at the Giga Shanghai could churn out up to 1,400 vehicles per day, an additional shift can boost daily output to between 2,600 to 2,800 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles every 24 hours.
“It still depends on how the factory arranges its manpower and facilities,” said Zhang. “The plant can be quite efficient in production as long as the supply chain issue is resolved.”
Tesla declined to comment on the matter on Monday.
Tesla co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk praised Chinese factory workers for pulling extreme hours during an online interview with the Financial Times earlier this month.
“They won’t just be burning the midnight oil, they will be burning the 3am oil, they won’t even leave the factory type of thing, whereas in America people are trying to avoid going to work at all,” said Musk in the interview.
“I think there will be very strong companies coming out from China. There are a lot of super-talented, hardworking people in China who strongly believe in manufacturing,” the tech billionaire was quoted as saying.
Tesla has lost about 50,000 vehicles in production due to reduced shifts at Giga Shanghai between March 28 and April 18 amid the Covid-19 outbreak and city lockdowns. Shanghai started a phased lockdown on March 28 by shutting down Pudong, east of the Huangpu River, before it locked down the whole city on April 1.
The factory, located in Pudong’s Lingang free-trade zone and connected to Yangshan Deep-Water Port by the Donghai Bridge, could only run a single shift initially due to a shortage of components, which limited output to about 1,000 vehicles a day – only half the plant’s normal daily output.
In April, the US carmaker delivered only 1,500 vehicles to mainland customers, about 98 per cent fewer than a month earlier, according to data provided by the China Passenger Car Association.