Tesla has submitted the expected application for subsidies to the state of Brandenburg for the construction of the Gigafactory 4 near Berlin. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier has now formulated “certain criteria” for a possible federal subsidy.
According to Tillmann Stenger, chairman of the board of the responsible business promotion bank (ILB) of the state of Brandenburg, they had received the Californian company’s formal application for subsidies but that it is still incomplete. “The documents will now be completed step by step”, says Stenger.
Among other things, an investment plan is missing, without which the approval of the application is impossible. Stenger estimates that any subsidy will be “well over 100 million euros”, but could not assess the exact amount yet. Any funding for the Gigafactory 4 also requires the ILB to notify the EU Commission in Brussels with the paperwork already being prepared.
On the federal level, Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier had also promised Tesla State subsidies, this time concerning an earlier application to also build battery cells in Germany, although at a later stage. As Altmaier told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag, companies would have to “meet certain requirements regarding the sustainability and performance of the batteries” to receive government support. Besides, the country must not be “just an extended workbench” (think assembly) but “research and development and value creation must also take place in Germany,” the Minister said.
All companies that meet these criteria would have a chance of receiving funding, regardless of being domestic or international. In his talks with Tesla boss Elon Musk, he had always pointed out “that there is no privilege, but also no discrimination”, Altmaier told the newspaper. However, the conservative politician did not name a potential scope of any funding for Tesla or possible involvement in the planned consortia.
But even without a final promise of financing, work on-site in Grünheide is progressing: according to reports, Tesla received permission on Friday to clear the tree population on the site. However, this information has not yet been confirmed. It only refers to a Twitter user. Regardless of the possible permission, more unexploded ordnance from the Second World War had to be blown up over the weekend, and the laying of empty pipes has already begun. So it looks like Tesla is managing the German regulatory landscape finely enough, despite earlier headwinds, and well, the paperwork.
With reporting by Stefan Köller, Germany.
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