Tesla is setting up a network of “gigafactories” to eat up the market. His last stop: Germany

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The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in Europe, doubling the sales of the Renault ZOE, the second in discord and far ahead of Volkswagen’s ID.3 and ID.4. In September 2021, it was even positioned as the best-selling car in Europe for any fuel. A situation of relative advantage that Tesla has been wanting to exploit in Europe for some time and that it can achieve with its new Gigafactory in Berlin.

After much controversy, the American firm last week obtained environmental approval for its new Gigafactory on the outskirts of Berlin, where it intends to assemble half a million vehicles a year. But, for now, you have to meet a series of requirements to have the definitive green light.

The Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin, the last to arrive

The Tesla Gigafactory on the outskirts of Berlin has been one of the firm’s most controversial projects. In fact, the start of production is months behind schedule and, although it should have started in June 2021, a start was expected in December “at the latest”, in the words of Elon Musk. This new plant will be Tesla’s first in Europe and wants to be the definitive boost to become the leading electric car firm in the Old Continent.

The truth is that Tesla sells more Model 3 than the sum of the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 (141,221 of the electric compact for the 123,566 units added by the Germans). However, the support of the Volkswagen Group, with Audi, Skoda and Porsche, positions them as the leading seller of electric vehicles in Europe.

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For this reason, this new Gigafactory, Tesla’s fourth worldwide, is key. When it is fully operational, Tesla wants to assemble 10,000 Tesla Model Y weekly. A figure that would raise the annual production above the half a million units. But it is not only the only objective of him.

To the production of automobiles, the manufacture of batteries must be added, which will allow significant savings in the costs of the vehicles that leave through the doors of the plant. A saving of time and money because, until then, the batteries that move the German Teslas Model Y will be of Chinese origin, from its Shanghai plant.

To start operating, Tesla has to show that its plans are in line with what is projected in the reports that the authorities have already approved. Among these approvals, the one that has raised the most controversy is the use of the water that the Gigafactory will have to make to dispose of its batteries. In fact, Tesla lowered its expectations for water needs from 3.6 million cubic meters of water annually to 1.4 million, just the amount that the Strausberg-Erkner Water Association (WSE) said it could allow.

Gigafactory Berlin

It seems that the bureaucratic demands that Tesla has had to face are almost resolved, but a regional court has confirmed the challenge that an environmental group had made against the water supply permit for tesla with which a company already had. A new setback that, according to Reuters, they hope to solve in the coming days.

When the plant works at full capacity, Tesla expects to employ 10,000 workers in its factories (it already has 2,600 hired according to the unions) and in addition to the more than 500,000 cars per year, it also expects to produce 50 GWh of capacity through its batteries. To get an idea, the factory that Volkswagen wants to install in our country, and which is believed to arrive in Sagunto (Valencia), will have a capacity of 40 GWh.

The first in Europe, the fourth worldwide

The Gigafactory that Tesla is about to open near Berlin is the fourth large plant that the Gigafactory will have worldwide. The other located outside the United States is Shanghai (China). The rest are found on the other side of the Atlantic.

Since the firm began to take its first sustained steps, the strategic line has been to build huge assembly plants. Far away is the brand’s first factory, a plant located in Fremont (California, United States) to which they had access through an agreement with Toyota.

Tesla and Toyota considered exploiting a space that had been operating since 1955 by General Motors but had never been profitable. At the beginning of the last decade, Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, encouraged the manufacture of electric vehicles, which was used by Tesla and Toyota to open a new stage for the plant. Previously, Toyota had already collaborated with General Motors since the 1980s. But in 2009, General Motors abandoned the project and in 2010 Toyota also did the same. Two years later, on June 22, 2012, Tesla delivered the first Tesla Model S.

Since then, the growth of the brand has gone through three great Gigafactories. The first of these is located west of Reno, in Nevada (United States) and is projected to reach a production of 35 GWh of electrical capacity in batteries for electric vehicles and another 15 GWh of energy for batteries for domestic consumption, which is another line of business for the firm, such as the opening of Tesla superchargers to all vehicles.

In this line of diversifying the business, Tesla counts as its second Gigafactory the plant that produces solar panels in Buffalo, New York (United States) since 2017. This factory intended to become the largest manufacturing space for this product in the world, but years afterwards, the objectives have not been achieved, jobs have been destroyed and criticism of a project for which it was necessary to buy SolarCitythe specialized company that exploited some land owned by the State of New York.

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The one known as Gigafactory 3 is the one located in Shanghai (China), which is the first car factory in the country that is completely foreign and the first for Tesla outside the United States. Annual production for this space has once again stood at half a million vehicles and since October already makes more vehicles than the Fremont plant.

For Tesla, this manufacturing space is key because, in Musk’s own words, “it currently has the best quality and the lowest manufacturing cost.” But, in addition, China is a country where the electric car is taking off strongly and where Tesla is achieving good results. In the month of December 2021 alone, the brand sold 70,847 unitshalf of the sales of the whole of last year in Europe and far from the 15,484 units that it had sold in the month of January of that same year.

The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in Europe, doubling the sales of the Renault ZOE, the second…

The Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling electric car in Europe, doubling the sales of the Renault ZOE, the second…

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