Dancing Musk presents the drivers with the first Teslas from the new German gigafactory

Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide
A worker sweeps the floor in front of the new Tesla Gigafactory for electric cars in Gruenheide, Germany, March 20, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

March 22, 2022

By Victoria Waldersee and Nadine Schimroszik

GRÜNHEIDE, Germany (Reuters) – Elon Musk was hailed as he oversaw the handover of Tesla’s first German-made cars at its plant in Grünheide on Tuesday, marking the start of the US automaker’s first European hub just two years after its initial announcement marked.

Loud music played as 30 customers and their families got a first glimpse of their shiny new vehicles through a glittering, neon-lit Tesla-branded tunnel and clapped and cheered while Tesla CEO Musk danced and joked with the fans.

“This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said, describing it as “another step toward a sustainable future.”

Although Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who also attended the event, hailed the Gigafactory as the future of the auto industry, it met with opposition and some environmental activists blocked the factory’s entrance while displaying banners warning of the high water consumption.

Two protesters abseiled from a highway sign near the factory, blocking traffic for hours after the event.

Musk had hoped to start production at the factory eight months ago, but delays in licensing and local concerns about the facility’s environmental impact delayed the process.

Tesla was forced to fulfill European orders from Shanghai while awaiting its German license, leading to rising logistics costs at a time when it was grappling with industry-wide chip shortages and other supply chain disruptions.

It received final approval from local authorities on March 4 to start production in Germany, provided it meets conditions ranging from water consumption to air pollution control.

The factory opening came on the same day that the top US securities commission asked a federal judge not to let Musk back out of an agreement requiring his Twitter use to be monitored, which the Tesla boss sees as part of a harassment campaign.


The new owners received the Model Y Performance configuration, a vehicle that costs 63,990 euros ($70,491) with a range of 514 km (320 miles), Tesla said, adding that new orders from the factory will begin shipping in April could become.

Tesla said about 3,500 of the plant’s expected 12,000 workers have been hired so far.

At full capacity, the plant will produce 500,000 cars a year, more than the 450,000 battery-electric vehicles that German rival Volkswagen sold worldwide in 2021.

It will also generate 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery power, surpassing all other plants in Germany.

At the moment, Volkswagen is still ahead in the race to electrify the European fleet with a 25% market share versus Tesla’s 13%. Musk said ramping up production would take longer than the two years it took to build the facility.

JPMorgan predicted that Grünheide would produce around 54,000 cars in 2022, 280,000 in 2023 and 500,000 by 2025.

Volkswagen, which has received 95,000 EV orders in Europe this year, is planning a new €2 billion EV factory alongside its existing plant in Wolfsburg and six battery plants across Europe.

But its schedule is behind Tesla’s, with the EV factory set to open in 2026 and the first battery factory in 2023.

($1 = 0.9086 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee, Nadine Schimroszik; Editing by Jan Harvey, Edmund Blair, Alex Richardson, Alexander Smith and Jan Harvey) Dancing Musk presents the drivers with the first Teslas from the new German gigafactory


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