The first Tesla cars “made in Germany” left the brand new factory of the American manufacturer near Berlin on Tuesday, under the satisfied gaze of boss Elon Musk who came to inaugurate his first European site. After two years of construction and administrative adventures, the production, which was initially to start last summer, was officially launched against a backdrop of rock and electro music. The Grünheide factory, southeast of Berlin, is Tesla’s first “mega-factory”, its fourth production site in the world, on which the electric vehicle pioneer relies to gain market share in the Old Continent.
In a context of exploding fossil fuel prices, Elon Musk praised renewable energies and electric mobility in the service of the climate. “We believe the world can transition to a sustainable energy future by combining solar power, wind power, battery storage and electric vehicles,” the billionaire said.
The entrepreneur with an eccentric personality had put on a wise dark suit to attend, alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the handover with great fanfare of the first thirty Tesla Model Y, 100% electric SUVs, to their owners. Eventually, the factory wants to produce 500,000 vehicles each year and a battery factory is to complete the facility, which covers 300 hectares. Nearly 3,000 people already work on the site, but Tesla promises to “recruit thousands of new employees in the coming months”, to exceed the 12,000 mark.
A turning point for the industry
Electromobility is “one more step away from oil imports”, argued Minister of Economy and Climate Robert Habeck, as Germany must accelerate its energy transition to free itself from its dependence on Russian gas. The opening of the Tesla factory also marks a turning point for the automotive industry in Germany with the arrival in the country of Volkswagen and Mercedes of their main rival in the race for the electric car. The site has seen many ups and downs, particularly in connection with the examination of the environmental impact of the site and its water consumption. The construction took place on the basis of provisional permits and the official approval of the regional authorities, essential for the start of production, was only issued at the beginning of March.