German Gigafactory - Tesla Amps Up!

German Gigafactory - Tesla Amps Up!

Tesla car emerging from new Berlin Gigafactory. Source: Getty Images (Creative Commons License).

Elon Musk is a man on a mission to make electric cars as commonplace as traditional cars. He wants Tesla to produce 20 million vehicles per year by 2030. In order to achieve his goal, his EV company must expand its production capacity. The first factory outside the US was opened in Shanghai, China, but Tesla has officially opened its first plant in Europe in Berlin, Germany.

The location of the German plant, known as Giga Berlin, was announced in 2019, much to the dismay of the established trio of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen. In fact, Musk admitted he chose the Gruenheide location because of the country’s pool of vehicle manufacturing talent, signaling his intention to poach skilled workers.

Tesla would face many setbacks in the course of construction. The first hurdle was a group of environmental activists that fought Tesla over everything they could. They complained that the animals that were native to the building site were being unjustly endangered and that the building supplies used were not sustainable. 

The courts sided with them on several occasions and at one point, the water supply to the site was stopped by the utility company.

Another source of headache was the German government, which sat on Tesla’s application for a building permit. The bureaucratic slow response drew out the process so much that Tesla penned an open letter urging the government to overhaul its permit approval process. 

Teslas new Berlin Gigafactory. Source: Tesla (Creative Commons License).

It also encouraged the authorities to prioritize projects that help the environment. As a result of the delay, Tesla had to continue the construction of its $5.5 billion dollar plant using a temporary license.

At full capacity, Giga Berlin will produce 500,000 units per year, which will help Tesla handle the demand on the continent. Previously Tesla had been importing its cars from China. Now production at Giga Berlin has already started with the Model S, which has been delivered to several countries already.

At full capacity, Giga Berlin will produce 500,000 units per year, which will help Tesla handle the demand on the continent.

The new plant will use Giga Presses to make car chassis from only two pieces, speeding up the manufacturing process and reducing costs. Tesla is building a battery production plant across the lot where it will produce its new 4680 or tabless battery. The batteries produced will go into cars made in the manufacturing plant and other energy storage products.

About 12,000 employees will work at Giga Berlin, making Tesla the biggest car manufacturing employer of labor in Berlin. However, thousands more indirect jobs will be created.

Even after all the trials, Musk's excitement was visible during the opening ceremony.  He unleashed a few dance steps, just as he did when he opened Giga Shanghai. He was also on hand to deliver the first batches of cars to reservation holders. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22, 2022 near Gruenheide, Germany.

Giga Berlin has set up Tesla to supply Europe with all of their electric vehicle needs.

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