GRUENHEIDE, GERMANY – MARCH 22: Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22, 2022 near Gruenheide, Germany.
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Musk was seen dancing as he presided over the delivery of Tesla’s first German-made cars to 30 customers and their families at the automaker’s 5 billion euro ($5.5 billion) factory automobile.
“It’s a great day for the factory,” Musk said, before hailing the launch as “another step toward a sustainable future,” according to Reuters. Tesla CEO brought back memories the launch of the company’s Shanghai factory in January 2020 where he also has showed off some of her dance moves.
Musk is set to cut a red ribbon at the new Giga Berlin (or Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg), which is in Grünheide, a mining town in Brandenburg, Germany, within commuting distance of the capital.
Not everyone is in favor of Giga Berlin. Several protesters gathered outside the facility on Tuesday to voice their concerns, according to Reuters. They fear that the factory uses too much water and they are unhappy with the number of trees that have been sacrificed to build it.
Tesla sees the Berlin plant producing up to 500,000 vehicles a year. Auto Motor Und Sport publication in Germany reported that the Tesla factory is aiming for production of 2,000 vehicles in its first weeks of mass production.
Troy Teslike, an independent Tesla researcher, tweeted that the company then hopes vehicle production will hit 1,000 a week within six weeks of the start of commercial production, then 5,000 a week by the end of 2022.
The US electric vehicle maker is struggling to keep up with demand and there are reportedly long delays for Model Ys and some Model 3s in different parts of the world.
Last week, Tesla had to temporarily halt production at its Shanghai factory due to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases in China. This limited production of Chinese-made Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for at least two days.
In recent quarters, Tesla has exported cars from China to customers in Europe.
Demand for electric vehicles remains very high in Europe, and Tesla can now count on some production on the continent, and not just to be shipped from China.
Giga Berlin took several years to prepare. It is extremely important for Tesla’s plans to expand globally following the opening of its Gigafactory 3 factory in Shanghai at the end of 2019. The company also began production of the Model Y at another factory in Austin, Texas recently, but Tesla has yet to hold a grand opening for the site.
He said: “Everyone knows that German engineering is exceptional, that’s for sure. That’s part of the reason why we are setting up our Gigafactory Europe in Germany. We will also be creating an engineering design in Berlin, because Berlin has some of the best art in the world.”
German authorities have granted conditional approval to Tesla to begin production on March 4.
The conditional license for the Brandenburg vehicle and battery factories was expected after months of delay. Tesla intended to start vehicle production in early summer 2021, but the covid pandemicsupply chain complications and clashes with environmentalists have slowed its progress.
While the plant is operational, water consumption at the facility remains an issue.
“The impact on the local water supply continues to be a concern for the future of the plant,” automotive analysts at Deutsche Banke said in a research note on Monday. They added that Tesla will need to provide evidence of proper water use and air pollution control in order to truly increase volume.
“Sources have indicated that the company could completely deplete the region’s water supply with the construction of the first stage of the plant, and will need additional extraction permits in order to further expand its capacity to the plant. ‘future,’ the note reads.
“As such, Tesla would have enough supply to support the initial 500,000 volume target, but may face additional hurdles as it plans to expand each of its Gigafactories to approximately 1 million production units. annual.”
—Additional reporting by CNBC’s Lora Kolodny.