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Tesla Model Y starts production at Gigafactory in China, drone video shows

The electric SUV should start delivery to Tesla employees first before rolling out to private buyers.

It appears Tesla has started production of the Model Y at its Beijing Gigafactory this week, as shown by this aerial footage of the facility. Video from YouTuber Wu Wa, who started drone flyovers a while ago, caught a handful of the electric SUVs outside the facility looking ready for prep and delivery for the first time on Wednesday (go to about 6:00 in the video). Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment, so we're unable to verify this with the automaker.

It's the second Tesla vehicle to enter production in China after the Model 3 began to roll out at the start of this year. The Model Y may make an even bigger splash, however: Americans aren't the only car buyers itching for more utility vehicles. CEO Elon Musk himself said this past January the Model Y will likely have more demand than all of its other vehicles on sale in China combined. So, yes, this is a big deal for Tesla locally.

As Tesla did for the Model 3 launch, the first Model Y vehicles off the line will likely go to employees. Private buyers will then have their chance to line up for the new electric SUV. Although Tesla launched the Model Y in other parts of the world earlier this year, the company waited to get local production off the ground before rolling the EV out in China. The facility is the first plant outside of the US to build Teslas, but the automaker has two new plants under construction: one in Austin, Texas, and another in Berlin.

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