Tesla announced this week plans to build its next Gigafactory in Monterrey, Mexico. The announcement was low-key and the company didn’t release any details about when construction of the new facility will begin, but one of Tesla’s top executives has quietly revealed when they plan to break ground, that it will be completed in record time, and that they plan to build another Gigafactory at the same time.
Tesla surprised almost everybody by taking a muddy pit in China in December 2018 and turning it into Giga Shanghai in just 11 months, rolling the first cars off the production line before the end of 2019. One of the leading forces behind that incredible construction effort was Tom Zhu, the company’s former Tesla China lead who was recently promoted to oversee Tesla’s North American factories and the company’s sales, service, and delivery operations in both North America and Europe.
According to Zhu Gigafactory Mexico will be built on an even quicker timeline than what happened in China, telling the Governor of Nuevo León this week he intends to take the factory from ground breaking to the start of production in just nine months.
NEWS: Tom Zhu, who oversees Tesla’s U.S. assembly plants and sales operations in North America and Europe, told the Governor of Nuevo León where Giga Mexico will be built, that he wants to break Giga Shanghai's record of 9 months from start of construction to first deliveries. pic.twitter.com/Be6m7OCvXA
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) March 3, 2023
Zhu confirmed that timeline with one of the lucky 50 retail shareholders that received an invitation to Investor Day, Matthew Donegan-Ryan, who also revealed when the company plans to break ground in Monterrey.
According to Donegan Ryan, who shared the details of his discussion with the high-profile executive on Twitter, Tesla is planning to roll the first vehicle built on the next-generation platform in 18-24 months. While Zhu didn’t provide a date for when the factory will begin construction, we can infer from this timeline that ground breaking is likely to happen in the next 9-15 months, meaning the start of construction will likely happen before the end of the year. In a discussion with Drive Tesla, Donegan Ryan said we should expect the lower end of that range as Zhu’s comments made it sound like he intends to beat the timelines and not exceed them.
Zhu also said that Gigafactory Mexico will be the first Tesla factory to build the next-generation vehicle, as it was announced at Investor Day. From there Tesla will take their learnings and add the next-generation platform to their other Gigafactories. When asked if the next-generation vehicle will be painted or have stainless steel like the Cybertruck, Zhu smiled and said, “paint is expensive.”
Zhu also revealed that Tesla will be building Gigafactory Mexico at the same time as another Gigafactory, so we should expect to see another announcement from Tesla in the coming months.
You can read all of what Zhu shared in the tweet thread below.