Tesla CEO Elon Musk has landed in Germany for a “technical” visit to Giga Berlin, the European production facility Tesla plans to launch later this year. During an interview with local media, Musk stated that he hopes production can begin by the end of 2021.
According to Jörg Steinbach, the Minister of Economics, Labor, and Energy for the State of Brandenburg, his team was informed by Tesla directly last week that Musk would be visiting Germany on May 14th. This meeting didn’t take place, but Musk did arrive in Germany yesterday, May 16th, according to his plane tracker. Musk left London for Berlin Brandenburg Airport and arrived in Germany after a quick, 76-minute flight.
Steinbach said the nature of the visit is “mainly technical” and that Musk has not scheduled meetings with either him or Dietmar Woidke, who is Brandenburg’s Minister-President.
We have been informed by @Tesla on Friday, May 14th, that a visit of @elonmusk of Grünheide was expected to happen. As the purpose of this visit is mainly technical in character political meetings with Ministerpräsident #Woidke or myself have not been scheduled. @Stk_Brandenburg
— Jörg Steinbach (@joergstb) May 16, 2021
After visiting Giga Berlin on Monday, Musk indicated that he hopes the site will be ready for production by the end of 2021.
“It looks like we could start production at the end of the year,” Musk said. “You can only build cars when all the parts are in place.”
Musk has visited Germany on two previous occasions, with his first appearance being in September 2020 and the second in November, where he personally interviewed engineering applicants who desired to work at Giga Berlin. The factory has encountered exceptional support from local politicians, including Steinbach and Woidke. Steinbach recently confirmed to Teslarati that the rumored production delays until early 2022 were not accurate and that he expected Tesla to begin producing vehicles in Germany as early as late-Summer.
Tesla’s application for Giga Berlin continues to work its way through the approval process. Local sources indicate that it could take anywhere from 3-5 years for Tesla to gain ultimate approval, but this will not prevent the automaker from producing its vehicles at the facility. Ultimately, the deliberate process that is utilized by politicians to approve a project gives the government plenty of time to examine all of the implications of allowing a massive industrial project to operate in the region. The chances for rejection are extremely slim, even though the process will take several years to be finalized.
Musk commented on the process during the interview at the Giga Berlin site today.
“I think it would be better if there was less bureaucracy. On the other hand,” Musk continued, “more and more rules accumulate over time, and in the end, you can’t do anything.”
“On the other hand, more and more rules accumulate over time, and in the end you can’t do anything.”
But he is confident about Giga Berlin, “I think it will work well”
— Alex (@alex_avoigt) May 17, 2021
Tesla recently added plans for a battery cell plant to the application, increasing its production rate for the new, less expensive, but more effective 4680 battery cells. Tesla will not build this factory in time for the initial production phase in a few months and will instead depend on cells from its Kato Road cell manufacturing plant in Northern California.
Tesla said it expects Giga Berlin to begin limited production by the end of the year in its Q1 2021 Earnings Call Update Letter. Volume production at the plant is expected to begin in 2022, the company said.