Tesla Opens Historic German Gigafactory Near Berlin
March 22, 2022 will go down as a major date in German automotive history, as US electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla inaugurated its first-ever European gigafactory in the regional state of Brandenburg outside the German capital.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and ranking German government members were on hand as the first German-made Model Y rolled off the assembly lines at the facility in the town of Grünheide. They included Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck. Habeck characterized Tesla’s arrival as part of a broader landscape of change in Germany.
“The start of production today in Grünheide is a special day for both the region and especially for the mobility revolution in Germany,” said Habeck at the event. “We need more of Tesla speed for other infrastructure projects like the expansion of renewables and electrical grids. I would like to promote this sort of daring in terms of accelerating process in our current situation. As the national government we will pull all the levers available to this end.”
Musk announced back in December 2019 that Tesla had selected Grünheide as the location for its billion-euro facility. The start of production was originally planned for last year but was moved back among other things because Tesla also decided to build a battery factory on the site. When running at full capacity, the gigafactory will produce half a million vehicles a year.
“This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said at the ceremony, describing the opening “another step in the direction of a sustainable future.”
Observers in Germany have keenly followed the progress in the construction of the gigafactory, and the project has drawn praise in the press as an example of successful collaboration between the private sector and state authorities.
“This is truly a big day for Germany,” says Germany Trade & Invest automotive expert Stefan di Bitonto. “The start of production at Tesla’s gigafactory in Brandenburg near Berlin is a further major step in the expansion of the German automotive sector from its traditional strongholds in the south to all parts of the country. The speed with which Tesla built its facility and got it up and running shows that it’s possible to bring massive projects to fruition relatively quickly and efficiently in Germany. Tesla’s presence represents a great opportunity for other international automotive companies to do business in both the Berlin-Brandenburg region and Germany as a whole.”