Tesla boss Elon Musk wants to produce Europe’s first electric cars in Germany by December at the latest. The company’s president made the announcement Saturday at an open day at his first European plant in Grunheide, near Berlin. After that, it will take until the end of next year to ramp up production. By then, Musk said, the battery plant still under construction should be up and running adjacent to the auto plant.
Musk announced the so-called Giga plant at the end of 2019 and built it in less than two years. In the future, about 12,000 employees will build up to 500,000 electric cars annually there. According to the company, as many parts as possible should be produced on site in order to become independent of suppliers.
So far, Musk has only received early approvals to build the plant. Recent environmental approval for the entire project is still pending, and several hundred objections are still under discussion. Critics complain that the industrial building is being built partly in the water protection zone. However, both opponents and supporters of the project expect approval to be granted in the next few weeks.
Musk has defended his project against concerns that production is diverting too much water from the area. “Our factory uses very little water,” he said. Tesla’s mission is the fastest possible transition to renewable energies and climate protection. At the same time, he recruited qualified personnel from all over Europe. “I’m a little worried that we won’t be able to hire enough people,” Musk said.
And authorities allowed up to 9,000 people to attend the open house called “Country Fair” at the same time. In front of the car factory, hundreds of people parked in a kind of fairground with a ferris wheel and sausage stalls when the weather was perfect.
Visitors who obtained pre-order tickets were able to visit the factory and also test drive the Tesla Model Y, which will be produced in Grünheide. In the factory, the robots are already in a test process on production lines. Above all else, Tesla emphasizes the importance of its casting facility and state-of-the-art paint shop.
The police reported slow traffic on the access roads, but no major problems. Tesla asked visitors to come by train.
The car factory at the gates of Berlin is one of the most important industrial projects in East Germany. Musk originally estimated construction costs at 1.1 billion euros, but at the same time said the budget would be overrun. For the battery plant, Tesla has the potential for public financing, which, according to media reports, may also reach 1.1 billion euros.
According to the company, “a single-digit average amount of $1 billion” will be invested. On Saturday, she said the predictions of around four to five billion euros were not wrong. There was no more detailed information. It is said that up to 3,500 people were employed at the construction site at the peak. In addition, production personnel have already been appointed.