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Tesla’s China boss may run Gigafactory in Texas

Elon Musk long tapped Tesla The Chinese executive who oversaw the construction of the Shanghai gig factory to help run the automaker’s newest plant in Austin, Texas, said people familiar with the matter.

Tom Zhu, who joined Tesla in 2014 to help build the supercharger network and most recently headed the automaker’s Asia-Pacific operations, was in Austin this week, traveling from China to help oversee the launch. We brought some of our engineering team to Giga Texas — the US hub for the Model Y and future cyber truck — people said they requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

It is not clear how long Zhu will stay in Austin or whether he will continue his responsibilities in Asia, the people said.

Tesla representatives in the U.S. and China did not respond to requests for comment. Zhu was unable to make contact immediately. Musk also did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Zhu’s shift to Austin looks like this: Tesla looking to ramp up production at new Texas factory.

The American electric vehicle pioneer originally planned to use new, larger 4680 lithium-ion cells at its factory to build the Model Y SUV. Musk called the factory “Money Furnace” this year.

However, Tesla instead decided to use the old 2170 cells, considering the new batteries weren’t ready for mass production.

It’s also affected by Musk spending time running Twitter after acquiring the social media platform at the end of October.

He is also the CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, more commonly known as SpaceX, and founded tunnel company The Boring Co. and brain chip developer Neuralink.

Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter has also weighed on Tesla’s share price, which has fallen about 50% this year, raising concerns about how he distributes his time among his many companies.

In fact, Musk himself admitted last month that he has “too much” work.

For years, Mr. Zhu was the chief executive officer of China, Tesla’s largest market outside the United States. Tesla’s factory in Shanghai builds Model 3 and Model Y cars for domestic consumption and export to other parts of Asia and Europe.

With a recent upgrade, the factory’s capacity doubled to nearly 1 million units per year, and shipments surged to a record 100,291 units last month.

Musk also often praises China’s work ethic, praising Tesla China employees for “burning oil at 3 a.m.” while criticizing Americans for “avoiding going to work at all.” “We are doing it.”

The billionaire famously caused a stir earlier this year He gave Tesla workers worldwide an ultimatum: Return to the office or move to another location to work. Tesla’s China boss may run Gigafactory in Texas

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