Tom Zhu, the Chinese president of Tesla who oversaw the transformation of Gigafactory Shanghai into the world’s largest electric vehicle factory, has been named to lead the new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, Bloomberg reported earlier this week. That would make the China chief, who joined Tesla China in April 2014, one of the electric vehicle giant’s top executives.
The decision came as no surprise to industry insiders, given how quickly Gigafactory Shanghai has become a manufacturing and export hub for Tesla.
It took just one year for the plant – from December 2018 to December 2019 – to move from construction to production. In August, Gigafactory Shanghai manufactured its millionth car, representing a third of the total Teslas produced so far, Elon Musk tweeted. This month of November was a record month for the site with 100,291 vehicles delivered.
Achievements like these undoubtedly make Zhu a favorite aide to Musk who promotes a “hardcore” work environment. While Zhu might have a secret recipe for building a well-oiled manufacturing team in a short time, China’s unique conditions aren’t easily replicable in another country.
“Over the past three years, Gigafactory Shanghai has outperformed its counterparts in Fremont, Texas and Berlin, although [not all of the success] is attributable to Tom or the Chinese team,” suggested Chris Zheng, founder of Chinese automotive blog Channel-Q.
“A friendly regulatory environment, a strong supply chain base and an efficient front-line execution team – these are three factors that are currently only available in China, so the key is not Shanghai or Texas. “Look at BYD. Sure, Tom and his management team are great, but that’s not all,” he added.
Chinese technology news site PingWest reported on Wednesday that Musk had appointed Zhu as CEO of Tesla Global, a new senior position in charge of sales and Gigafactories, while Musk continues to lead “key technical work of the company.” ‘company”.
Musk tweeted Thursday that he continues to “oversee both Tesla and SpaceX, but the teams there are so good that often not much is needed from me.”
This is a developing story…