- Giga Berlin (Gigafactory Berlin is located in Grünheide and is Tesla’s first manufacturing plant in Europe
- Tesla projects a production capacity of up to 500,000 vehicles annually at the factory.
- Europe is among the fastest-growing markets for Electric and other hybrid cars. More than 176,000 EVs rolled off showrooms and car lots in Dec 2021 alone.
Pomp and color
Elon Musk opened Tesla’s first manufacturing facility in Europe on Tuesday, March 22, as he seeks to take pressure off of other factories across America and China.
The CEO was seen dancing with delight while overseeing the delivery of 30 Model 3’s to clients who purchased them at this new 5 billion Euro plant in Brandenburg, Germany.
The town is a former coal-mining community within commuting distance of the capital.
“This is a great day for the factory and another step towards a sustainable future.” Musk said at the colorful launch.
Tesla announced Giga Berlin plans back in 2016. According to the announcement then, Tesla was looking to increase the production of its electric cars and batteries in Europe.
The Berlin Gigafactory has several unique features that make it special.
Firstly, it’s among the biggest buildings in Germany (if not the biggest), measuring at least 1.2 million square feet when complete.
It’s also one of the most sustainable buildings, with several green features such as a massive solar panel installation wind turbines.
The Gigafactory is highly automated, with robots expected to run much of the production work. Giga Berlin is expected to produce half a million cars per year, increasing Tesla’s current production capacity.
Giga Berlin is not without its critics. According to Reuters, a group of protesters gathered outside the facility on Tuesday to raise their concerns. They’re worried that the plant will use too much water. They also don’t like the number of indigenous trees sacrificed to build the factory.
Water remains a major issue for the company at the Gigafactory. According to auto industry analysts at Deutsche Bank, Tesla will have to demonstrate sustainable water usage and air pollution control to boost production volume.
“Sources indicated that the company may completely exhaust the water reserve in the region with the first stage of the plant build-out and will need additional extraction permits to expand its capacity any further in the future,” the analysts noted.
A big deal
Europe sold a record 2.3 million EVs in 2021. 14% of all new car sales in Europe were electric and other hybrids.
Tesla has been relying on factories in China and the U.S. to satisfy demand in Europe. With the opening of the new Gigafactory with an initial capacity of 500,000 cars a year, the company can start meeting the increased demand for eco-friendly vehicles.
The European Commission is moving forward with its plan to ban or limit the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2035. That has prompted Europe’s leading economies, Germany and France, to step up manufacturing and other EV infrastructure.
It’s not just Tesla making inroads in Europe. Ford recently announced plans for seven new EV models in Europe, along with a battery-assembly plant in Germany.
The carmaker is looking to introduce its first three-passenger EVs and four commercial ones in Europe by 2024.
Ernst & Young projects Europe will have more than 130 million EVs on roads by 2035.
It also estimates that these vehicles will require 65 million charging points, with about 85% installed at home. With the increased EV uptake coinciding with a push towards renewable energy, countries need to prepare for the changes ahead.
Ride Free: A brief history of Tesla
Tesla was founded in 2003, and its first car, the Tesla Roadster, was released in 2008. The Roadster was a high-end sports car praised by critics for its performance and design.
In 2010, Tesla released its second car, the Model S.
The Model S is a luxury sedan popular with consumers and critics alike. It has won numerous awards, including the “Car of the Year” award from Motor Trend.
In 2012, Tesla began selling its Model S in Europe, and the company also announced plans to build a factory in Nevada.
In 2014, Tesla unveiled its Model X, a luxury SUV. The Model X met mixed reviews, with some critics praising its design and features and others criticizing its high price tag.
In 2015, Tesla announced plans to build a “gigafactory” in Nevada to produce batteries for its cars. The factory was completed in 2016.
In 2016, Tesla announced plans to build a new plant in Shanghai, China. The plant was opened in 2019.
The Berlin gigafactory is the latest in Tesla’s mega plants around the world.
Elon Musk has been the CEO of Tesla since 2008. He is also the founder of SpaceX, a company specializing in space exploration.