Elon Musk Brings China Chief Tom Zhu to Texas

Published originally on the CTH on December 10, 2022 | Sundance 

Xiaotong (Tom) Zhu joined Tesla in 2014. Before that Zhu was Vice President for Kaibo Engineering Group, a China-based project management firm that focuses on overseas projects (One Belt – One Road) invested by the Chinese government.

One would think a project manager tied to the key initiatives of Chairman Xi, would have deep CCP ties.  There is also speculation that Mr. Musk may be assigning Mr. Zhu to be the lead of Tesla internationally.

(Via Bloomberg) Elon Musk has tapped a longtime Tesla Inc. executive in China who oversaw construction of the Shanghai gigfactory to help run the electric carmaker’s newest plant in Austin, Texas, people familiar with the matter said.

Tom Zhu, who joined Tesla in 2014 to help build its Supercharger network and most recently has been heading the carmaker’s Asia Pacific operations, is in Austin this week and has brought some of his engineering team from China with him to assist in overseeing the ramp up of Giga Texas — a US hub for the Model Y and future production of the Cybertruck — the people said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak publicly.

It’s not clear how long Zhu will be in Austin for, or whether he will retain his Asia responsibilities, the people said.

Representatives at Tesla in the US and China didn’t respond to requests for comment. Zhu wasn’t immediately able to be contacted. Musk also didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

The shift of Zhu to Austin comes as Tesla has been trying to increase output at its new Texas factory. The US electric vehicle pioneer originally planned to make Model Y SUVs using its new, larger 4680 lithium-ion cells at the plant, which Musk referred to as a “money furnace” earlier this year. But instead, Tesla has pivoted to using older 2170 cells considering the new batteries weren’t ready for volume production. (read more)


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