Tesla Model Y release timeframe for Europe will depend on Gigafactory Berlin

(Credit: Teslarati)

It appears that Tesla is betting big on the completion of Gigafactory Berlin’s first phase for its Model Y European ramp, with CEO Elon Musk mentioning on Twitter that the all-electric crossover will likely reach Switzerland in about a year. Musk also noted that the crossover would be coming from its upcoming electric car factory in Germany, Giga Berlin. 

Tesla has already announced that Gigafactory Berlin will be starting its operations with the production of the Model Y. This is a bit of a departure from the company’s strategy with its first foreign factory, Gigafactory Shanghai, which began operations with a locally-produced version of the Standard Range Model 3 RWD. 

Neither Tesla nor Elon Musk has hinted at which Model Y variants will kick off Giga Berlin’s vehicle production so far, though it’s possible that the electric car maker will follow Fremont’s footsteps and start with the Model Y Performance and Dual Motor AWD versions. 

Elon Musk’s recent tweet appears to reflect the deadlines Tesla set for Giga Berlin that were hinted at by local German media earlier this year. Back in January, the Brandenburg Gazette published a report stating that Tesla intends to start vehicle production in its upcoming factory by 2021, with the facility producing the Model Y crossover at a rate of 3,000 units per week to start. 

This is a departure from the company’s previous strategies as well, as Tesla usually starts its vehicle production at a rate of about 1,000 vehicles per week. Ultimately, starting Giga Berlin’s initial target of 3,000 Model Y per week shows that Tesla is very confident with its new vehicle, as well as its capability to produce it on a new factory. 

At a rate of 3,000 per week, Tesla would likely be able to ramp the Model Y quickly in the European region, allowing the company to deliver the vehicle to countries such as Switzerland directly from Germany. This paves the way for more efficient operations, made possible by a vehicle production line that is tailor-fit for Tesla. The company has done this in Giga Shanghai’s Phase 1 building, which appears to be modeled after Fremont’s controversial, “tent”-based GA4 line. 

Inasmuch as Elon Musk’s Model Y European release announcement is exciting, it does put quite a lot of pressure for the company and its construction partners for Gigafactory Berlin. So far, activities in the Brandenburg site have continued despite the coronavirus pandemic, but the pace of the factory has not been as fast as Gigafactory 3. Land leveling activities for the upcoming facility’s Phase 1 area are nearly done, which suggests that a groundbreaking event might be held soon. But this is still just the tip of the iceberg. 

Following the groundbreaking event, Tesla and its construction partner for Giga Berlin would have to expedite its operations to ensure that the Model Y can be produced in the facility in about a year. Tesla’s China team and its construction partner was able to accomplish this feat, but it required 24/7 operations that continued through holidays. If Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin team can pull off something similar, then a real European ramp for the Model Y may very well be feasible within Elon Musk’s timeframe. 

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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