Tesla produces one Model Y every 2 minutes, media finds after Giga Shanghai tour

Chinese motoring outlet Pacific Automotive Network was recently granted limited access to the Phase 2 area of Gigafactory Shanghai, which produces the Model Y. Over the course of its exclusive tour, the media outlet observed several interesting tidbits about the state of the electric car maker’s Model Y production line. One of these is the fact that Giga Shanghai’s Phase 2 zone is already building an average of 700 Model Y per day. 

According to the media outlet, the Model Y line in the Shanghai-based plant currently has a converted production cycle of 29 jobs per hour. This means that Tesla China, despite only producing the all-electric crossover for a few months, is already capable of building one Model Y every two minutes. That’s an impressive milestone, especially considering that this translates to an annual run-rate of about 250,000 vehicles. 

Local projections for the Model Y line in Giga Shanghai’s Phase 2 zone estimate that the facility would have an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles this year. Considering that Tesla is already producing an average of 700 Model Y per day, however, this 200,000-vehicle target may very well be exceeded by the end of the year. Tesla’s Q4 FY 2020 Update Letter also estimated Giga Shanghai to produce a total of 450,000 Model 3 and Model Y this year, a number that seems conservative considering the current pace of the all-electric crossover’s manufacturing ramp. 

Apart from its observations about the Model Y’s output, PC Auto also shared several insights and observations from Gigafactory Shanghai’s Phase 2 zone. These include Tesla’s use of a two-story layout for the vehicle’s production line, which enables a seamless assembly of the vehicle. Also notable were the cleverly-placed logistics doors on the side of the Phase 2 building, which allows parts and components to be taken to the production line directly after they are delivered. Interestingly enough, the entire complex was also observed to be immaculately clean and tidy, which the motoring outlet noted is quite rare to see in a vehicle manufacturing plant.

Credit: PCAuto.com

Of course, no trip to a Model Y production line would be complete without a look at the Giga Press, which produces the all-electric crossover’s single-piece rear underbody. The motoring news outlet highlighted that Tesla is pretty much the only company that uses such massive machines, which make the production of the Model Y simpler. This simple assembly process carries over to the Model Y’s wiring as well, which is already far shorter than the 1.5 km of wiring used in the Model 3 at just about 100 meters.

Ultimately, the rare visit to Giga Shanghai’s Model Y facility proved one thing: Tesla’s electric car factories definitely follow their own rhythm. Very little of the Phase 2 building could be considered similar to the factories of traditional automakers, while the majority of the operations in the area are specifically-designed for the company’s vehicles. This emphasis on simplicity and efficiency is evident throughout the entire compex, from the number of components in the Model Y to the design of the production line itself. 

Check out PC Auto’s full account of its Giga Shanghai visit here

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