The Tesla Model Y took a step closer to reality on Wednesday, as a new filing revealed plans to produce the upcoming sports utility vehicle at the company’s third Gigafactory in Shanghai. The 210-acre site in Lingang, a district in the south east of China’s largest city, will produce an estimated 250,000 vehicles per year.
The Reuters report states that Tesla, which secured the factory land last week will use the new factory to produce the Model 3 and Model Y as part of the company’s plans to expand into China. The Model Y has yet to be unveiled, bar a couple of shaded pictures, but it’s expected to appeal to an entry-level version of the Model X in the same way that the Model 3 acted as a cheaper version of the Model S sedan. In revealing the second image at the company’s annual shareholder event, CEO Elon Musk said the car “is really going to be something super special. We’re aiming to unveil the Model Y approximately March next year, and then go into production about two years from now. Maybe a little less than two years, but basically first half of 2020 for production of Model Y.”
Tesla’s mass market move has meant an expansion of production, and these cheaper cars have been designed with easy manufacturing in mind. The Model 3 contained half the wiring of the Model S, with just one computer display instead of two. Musk said in May’s earnings call that the Model Y would take things even further, removing some of the headaches associated with producing the Model 3, declaring it will be “a manufacturing revolution.”
The company has pursued an aggressive expansion strategy as part of this, moving from producing around 2,000 Model S and X cars per week total in July 2017 to producing 7,000 cars per week by the summer of 2018, around 5,000 of which are Model 3 vehicles. While the Shanghai factory is set to start producing vehicles around two years after construction starts, it could reach a production rate of around 500,000 cars in a further two to three years. Musk has also suggested the company could build a Gigafactory 4 and 5. The CEO is optimistic about boosting production even further, suggesting the company could reach a production rate of one million Model Y cars per year total.
Musk is expected to take the wraps off the Model Y around March next year, joking that he may reveal it on the Ides of March. Production is then expected to start in 2020.
Musk may also provide more details at the company’s next earnings call, scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday.