Elon Musk, a South African-born American by way of Canada, is very proud about making his Tesla electric vehicles in the U.S.A. And he has a good reason for it: he says “there’s a good chance” that the Tesla Model 3 will be the most American car currently in production when it starts moving through Tesla’s assembly lines in July.
Although we’re not entirely sure how many of Tesla’s parts are produced in the US, many components, like the special glass for the Model 3, are made by the company itself. On Tuesday, Don Barbieri asked the Tesla CEO if the Tesla Model 3 will be able to beat out the Toyota Camry for the title of “most made in America car.” In typical Elon fashion, he replied in four words: “Good chance it will.”
Barbieri wasn’t exactly right — the Toyota Camry is 78.5 percent American, but it isn’t the most American made car in 2016, according to analysis performed by the Kogod School of Business at American University. That title belongs to the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia, which are all 90% American made, so the Tesla Model 3 faces some steep competition.
Without knowing exactly where all of Tesla parts come from, it’s hard to estimate exactly how Elon is going to build the Model 3 to be mostly American. However, one of the big differences could be the battery. Tesla batteries used to be produced by Panasonic in Japan, but thanks to the massive Gigafactory in Arizona, cells for the Model 3 will be coming off production lines in the good old U.S. of A.
And despite closing down its Fremont facility for a week in early February, in the Tesla earnings call on Tuesday, Musk said that the Model 3 is “on track” to start production July 1. He also said that he had moved a lot of Tesla’s engineering resources to revamp the Gigafactory into the factory of the future. The highly automated car-making machine is a major invention in its own right, according to Musk.
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