Billionaire CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has opened a €5 billion ($5.5 billion) Tesla factory in Europe. The new Giga Berlin factory (or Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg factory) is located in Grünheide, a coal town in Brandenburg, Germany.
The new electric vehicle plant upon its official opening delivered its first thirty vehicles to clients who ordered them and were invited to the event. Musk announced this in his tweet “Excited to hand over the first production cars made by Giga Berlin-Brandenburg tomorrow!”
The German factory is Tesla’s third major plant. There are factories in Fremont and California both in the United States, Shanghai in China. Another plant, outside Austin, Texas in the United States is expected to open soon.
Why was the Factory built?
Musk first announced his intention to build the factory in 2019, praising German engineering. He said: “Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure. That’s part of the reason why we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design center in Berlin because it has some of the best art in the world.”
Asides from the obvious reason of expansion, the Tesla plant was built to meet up with the demands of the Electric vehicle in Europe.
- The demand for electric cars in Europe is high. According to CND news, data from government agencies showed that more than 20% of new cars sold in Europe and Britain in December were powered solely by electricity.
- European countries have passed laws to phase out internal combustion engines, and electric cars are increasingly joining the mainstream.
- As a result of this, the United State plants had been struggling to keep up with demands from other parts of the world. Clients in Europe saw their cars often shipped to them from the Shanghai factory but even with that, the demand was still not completely satisfied.
- At some point, the Shanghai factory had to shut down temporarily due to the Covid-19 cases resurgent in China, which delayed production for at least two days.
This new factory however solves the issue of demand as The Auto Motor Und Sport publication in Germany reported that the Tesla plant is targeting output of 2,000 vehicles in its first few weeks of serial production.
Challenges and Protests
The German government is known for its rigid bureaucracy and deliberate planning. According to the New York Times, Tesla was only allowed to proceed to build the plant after securing only preliminary approvals from government authorities, on the condition that Mr. Musk agrees to tear down the plant and leave the site as he found it if state boards ultimately refused the project.
It was a gamble that he took and it paid off when the authorities approved the production site. However, there is a battery production plant on the property that still requires state approval before going live.
Also, as expected not everyone is in favor of Giga Berlin. According to Reuters, several protesters gathered outside the facility to raise their concerns, they’re worried that the plant will use too much water and they’re unhappy with the number of trees that have been sacrificed to build it.
Regardless the opening was hitch-free and the billionaire showed off his dance moves in celebration of Tesla’s success.