Tesla to build European Gigafactory 4 near Berlin


Tesla will build its European Gigafactory in the Berlin area. The electric car company’s boss Elon Musk just announced at the award ceremony of the ‘Golden Steering Wheel’ in Berlin. The search for factory employees is on now.

For a long time, the location of the European Tesla plant was subject of speculation. Most recently, Tesla had made statements about the Gigafactory 4 when announcing the figures for the third quarter. At that time, the company was on the verge of choosing the location. At an event in Berlin tonight, Elon Musk now announced that not only the plant will be built in Germany, but also in the “Berlin Area”. Asked by the presenter for further information, Musk said: “Tonight is not enough time to talk about all the details. I can only reveal that it will be built near the new airport.”

Later throughout the night, news broke though, that the planned site is in Grünheide, a town that lies south-east from Berlin and in the state of Brandenburg. According to the Tagesspiegel, BMW had eyed the industrial area to build a new plant some time ago. Now it is Tesla coming to town and says it will create over 3,000 jobs in the first stage. In total, the Gigafactory 4 is to employ up to 10,000 people, and Tesla is wasting no time: Shortly before Musk announced the location, the company posted several job advertisements on its homepage for “Manufacturing”, “Engineering”, “Operations” and “Construction”. For the location, the website still lists “remote Germany” – Brandenburg in other words.

Brandenburgs Minister for Economics and Energy, Jörg Steinbach (SPD) now also confirmed he signed a letter of intent with Tesla boss Elon Musk. Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke also confirmed the plans of the Californians and is hoping for EU approval. “We are operating within the framework of EU state aid law. […] Of course, we will do our best to create good conditions for Tesla under these possibilities,” Woidke adds.

The sentiment is echoed internationally. Last week, the US investment bank noted that Germany was the “logical choice”. Germany “is at the heart of the global luxury car market, with an economy dependent on combustion technology and a government focused on climate change,” wrote analyst Adam Jonas.

Jonas was right. Only Berlin/Brandenburg had not been mentioned so far. Up to now, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Baden-Württemberg have been associated with Tesla, in some cases, there have also been direct talks with the electric carmaker, for example with Lower Saxony and Emsland. Also, at other locations, wind power would have been an advantage. In Brandenburg, there are some large solar parks, unless Telsa installs its solar cells on the roof of the factory, as at the Gigafactory in Nevada.

In terms of production, on Twitter, the Tesla boss revealed, they “Will build batteries, powertrains & vehicles, starting with Model Y”.

Musk made no further statements – yet – about the schedule for Gigafactory 4 though. Still, a few months ago he had said that the European Gigafactory should be ready by the end of 2021. And, taking the latest Gigafactory 3 near Shanghai as an example, Tesla operates on very tight schedules for the construction of a new factory. It remains to be seen whether Germany will grant and accept all approvals just as quickly.

>> The article has been updated above to include details on the number of jobs as well as the Brandenburg location.

tesla.com (job adverts), tagesspiegel.de (exact location, in German)


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