The proverbial champagne corks were popping in November after Tesla founder Musk enthused “Berlin rocks!” and announced the American carmaker would be setting up shop in the German capital and surrounding state of Brandenburg. Tesla is establishing its fourth so-called Gigafactory in the Brandenburg town of Grünheide as well as a design and engineering center in Berlin itself. The carmaker already has a draft contract to purchase a 300 hectare site from Brandenburg, and it’s thought that the project will create as many as 10,000 jobs. It is expected to be up and running in 2021.
“Tesla’s decision to establish a major battery and car factory here in Germany is a wonderful success for Germany as a business location,” said German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier when the announcement was made. “In the past few months, there was intense competition between various European countries. The fact that Germany got the nod is an important and very positive signal. It is a milestone in terms of electro-mobility and battery-cell production. This is complete proof that the German government’s strategy of investing in these future-oriented sectors and prioritizing them is a correct one. We expect to become a major intentional center in these areas in years to come.”
The German government subsidizes purchases of new electric vehicles and is investing hundreds of millions of euros in improving EV charging infrastructure in Germany. Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) is one of the state agencies that helped convince Tesla to come to the country and take part in this mobility revolution. “We’ve been talking to Tesla for around three years,” says GTAI CEO Robert Hermann. “Tesla’s decision reflects how attractive Germany is as a place of investment and technology, and its central location will make it possible for the company to expand quickly into further European Union markets.”
Musk said that the Brandenburg facility would produce batteries and both the Y Model and flagship Model 3 and that the company was looking to more broadly enlist Germany’s traditional automotive excellence. “The future of mobility is becoming reality in Germany,” says GTAI automotive expert Stefan Di Bitonto. “With this strategic decision, Tesla has underscored Germany’s leading position as an automotive research and production location. Here you can not only develop but also build cars. That goes for both the premium and volume segments.
Around 40 percent of all premium autos worldwide are built in Germany. As a rule, the latest innovations are researched and realized in the premium segment before they are used on the mass market.” German carmakers and automotive parts suppliers hold a third of all the patents in the automotive sector worldwide, and in 2018, 25.7 billion euros – around 37 percent of money devoted to R&D in Germany as a whole – came from the automotive industry.