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Tesla Model Y prototype spotted in China — hinting at pre-production

A Tesla Model Y prototype has been spotted on a flatbed truck in China, hinting at preproduction of the electric SUV.

As we previously reported, Tesla has taken a new vehicle introduction strategy for Model Y.

Unlike previous vehicle programs, which were launched in different markets with vehicles imported from Tesla’s Fremont factory in California, Tesla is only introducing Model Y in new markets once the vehicle is produced there.

Tesla is currently building giant new buildings next to its existing Gigafactory Shanghai in order to make room for the Model Y production lines, and it’s building a new factory near Berlin with plans to build Model Y vehicles there.

The official timeline for the first deliveries of locally produced Model Y vehicles in China is early 2021, according to Tesla executives.

Now a Tesla Model Y prototype has been spotted being carried around on a flatbed truck in China:

Yan Chang, the person sharing the pictures, is claiming that the vehicle is made-in-China without specifying the source of the information.

It has sparked rumors that Tesla has started pre-production of Model Y validation prototypes.

In July, Tesla released new pictures of Model Y production line at Gigafactory Shanghai. It showed some progress, but some robots still needed to be installed.

Production has been expected to start toward the end of the year for deliveries to begin early in 2021.

The automaker has yet to apply for approval with the local authorities to produce the Model Y at Gigafactory Shanghai.

Tesla has had success deploying manufacturing capacity quickly in China.

Gigafactory shanghai was producing Model 3 vehicles within a year of starting construction of the factory and producing at an annual rate of 200,000 cars per year in less than two years of breaking ground.

Electrek’s Take

Obviously, this would be a big deal. It would only be Tesla’s second vehicle model being produced outside of the US and a successful launch would bode well for Tesla’s future efforts at Gigafactory Shanghai and Gigafactory Berlin.

Furthermore, the Model Y is expected to do well in China and expand Tesla’s market in the country, which is the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles.

It will create an alternative to small electric SUVs from competitors like Nio and Xpeng, who have been focusing on the segment in China.

Based on the last few quarters, it has become clear that the Chinese market is extremely important to Tesla on a quarterly basis.

Model Y is expected to be Tesla’s next opportunity to expand in the country, but at this point, it doesn’t look like it will significantly contribute to deliveries until Q1 2021.

The best case scenario at this point is that Tesla might manage to deliver some Model Y vehicles ahead of schedule in Q4 2020.

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