Elon Musk on Monday kicked off the construction of Tesla's new $2 billion factory in China, which he says will be ready as soon as this summer.
A factory on Chinese soil may help Musk avoid retaliatory tariffs imposed in the US-China trade war.
Tesla in October said it was accelerating construction because tariffs as high as 40% were making it uncompetitive in China.
Since then, a temporary truce has brought rates back to 15% — but that expires on March 1, and it is unclear where they will end up. A Chinese base would shelter Tesla against potential future tariff hikes.
Musk on Twitter on Monday said that the factory would make Tesla's Model 3 and that the Model S and the Model X would still be built in Tesla's two US factories.
Elon Musk has kicked off construction of his new Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, a project that could help him avoid tariffs on cars that have recently been inflamed by President Donald Trump's trade war with China.
Musk gave a speech at the site of the planned $2 billion factory in the Lingang district of Shanghai at about 3 p.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) on Monday.
The new factory, first announced in July, could be a remedy to problems operating in China, which Tesla attributed partly to President Donald Trump's trade war. Musk said the factory would be finished by the end of 2019 and might be ready in some capacity as soon as this summer.
In October, Tesla said tariffs imposed by China to counter those made by Trump "resulted in an import tariff rate of 40% on Tesla vehicles versus 15% for other imported cars in China."
RELATED: Take a look at all of the products that may be affected by the U.S.-China trade war:
Products directly hit by Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods
Products directly hit by Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods
Meat: pork; beef intestine; rabbit meat; venison; frog legs
Fish and seafood:live fish including ornamental fish, trout, eels, tuna, and carp; chilled or frozen meat of various types of trout, salmon, halibut, plaice, sole, albacore, tuna, herring, mackerel, cobia, swordfish, pollack, whiting, catfish, rays, and more; various types of salted or smoked fish; other seafood including various types of lobsters, crabs, shrimps, prawns, oysters, scallops, mussels, clams, squid, octopus, conchs, abalone, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins.
Non-meat animal products such as eggs and dairy:Whey products; butter; various types of eggs including chicken; honey; hair of animals including human, hog, horse and badger; animal intestines, bladders; feathers; bones including shells, beaks, corals, hooves, antlers, and more.
Vegetables:onions; garlic; cauliflower and broccoli; cabbage; carrots; turnips; radishes; beats; cucumbers; peas of various types; beans; lentils; celery; mushrooms; peppers of various types; squash; okra; sweet corn; potatoes; sweet potatoes and yams; some types of tomatoes; spinach; Brussels sprouts.
Fruit and Nuts: Coconuts; cashews; almonds; hazelnuts; walnuts; chestnuts; pistachios; macadamia nuts; pecans; dates; figs; pineapples; guavas; oranges; mandarins; clementines; raisins; grapes; apples; pears; quinces; peaches; berries including strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries and others; bananas; a variety of dried fruits; peels of various fruits.
Cereals: wheat, including durum wheat; barley; oats; corn; various types of rice; grain sorghum; buckwheat; quinoa; and more.
Mill products: flours including those form wheat, corn, buckwheat, rice, rye, other cereals, potatoes, and bananas; groats and meal of various types including wheat, corn, oats, and rice; malt; starches of wheat, corn, potato, and more
Oil seeds: soybeans; seeds of sunflower, flax seed, sesame, mustard, poppy and more; planting seeds for certain crops; cocoas and mint leaves; and seaweeds.
Sugars and candies: cane sugar; candies with no cocoa
Breads and Pasta: uncooked pasta; various breads, pastries, cakes, and biscuits.
Prepared vegetables and fruits: various vegetables and fruits previously listen in their prepared or preserved forms; various fruit jams including strawberry, pineapple, apricot, and more; peanut butter; various fruit juices including orange, pineapple, lime, grape, apple, and more.
Other food items: soy sauce; condiments and seasonings; protein concentrates.
Beverages and vinegars: water, including mineral water; fruit or vegetable juices and juice mixes; beer from malt; wine, including rice wine; ethyl alcohol; vinegars
Food processing waste and animal feed: brans from processing; oil cakes; dog or cat food; animal feed
Tobacco products: various types and preparations of tobacco; tobacco refuse; cigars; cigarettes; smoking tobacco
Salts and minerals: salt/sodium chloride; sulfur; graphite; quartz; types of clays; chalk; slate; marble; granite; sandstone; dolomite; gypsum; some plasters; some types of cement; mica; Epsom salts
Ores, slag, and ash: ores of iron, copper, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, lead, zinc, tin, chromium, tungsten, uranium, titanium, silver, other precious metals, and others; slag, various types of ash.
Mineral fuels and oils: coal; lignite; peat; coke; tars; various types of light oil; various types of kerosene; petroleum oils; liquefied fuels including natural gas, propane, butane, ethylene, and petroleum; oil shale and tar sands
Inorganic Chemicals: chemicals such as chlorine, sulfur; carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and silicon; acids including sulfuric, nitric, and more; various types of fluorides, chlorides, sulfates, nitrates, carbonates, and more.
Fertilizers: animal or vegetable fertilizers; urea; ammonium sulfate; sodium nitrate; and more.
Tanning and drying extracts, dyes, and paints
Essential oils, perfumes: perfume; lip or eye make up preparations; manicure or pedicure products; shampoo; hairspray; bath salts.
Soaps and cleaning products: various types of soap; leather and textile treatments; polishes for shoes and furniture.
Glues, adhesives, and enzymes
Cigarette lighter fluid
Photographic goods: various types of photo plates; instant film; various types of film in rolls; various types of motion picture film.
Various chemical products: pesticides; herbicides; fungicides
Plastics: vinyl flooring and other plastic floor and wall coverings; sausage casings; bags; gloves including baseball gloves; rain jackets; machinery belts.
Rubber: latex; rods, tubes, and other products; conveyor belts; various types of transmission belts; various types of pneumatic tires; gloves; gaskets; dock fenders.
Raw hides and leather: animal skins including cow, buffalo, sheep, goats, reptile; various types of leather made from cow, buffalo, sheep, goats, reptile; leather trunks and suitcases; leather handbags; CD cases; gloves including ski, ice hockey, and typical use; belts; fur clothing, incluidng artificial fur.
Wood: fuel wood; charcoal; various types of wood including oak, beech, maple, ash and cherry; moldings; rods; particleboard; various types of plywood; doors; corks and stoppers; wicker and bamboo baskets.
Any cost savings for Tesla will depend on what the tariff regime is when production begins.
It will also hinge on the precise details of the supply chain. For example, Tesla components made in the US and then shipped to the Shanghai factory for assembly would still most likely face some kind of tariff.
Nonetheless, Tesla has previously said the factory will help it deal with the tariff problem. In the October statement, Tesla said it would accelerate construction as a response to the trade problems.
Musk got permission from the Chinese government on July 10 to build the factory, Tesla's first outside the US.
Tesla also has Gigafactories in Nevada's Storey County and in Buffalo, New York.
The Shanghai factory would double the size of the electric-car maker's global manufacturing, Reuters said.
Tesla has also registered a financial leasing company in China with $30 million registered in capital, Reuters reported. This will allow it to speed up "leasing and consultancy" contracts to get the factory up and running.