Tesla boss: Production in Germany by December at the latest

Grünheide (dpa) – Tesla boss Elon Musk wants to produce the first electric cars for Europe in Germany by December at the latest. The company boss announced this on Saturday at an open day at his first European plant in Grünheide near Berlin.

After that, it will take until the end of next year for production to ramp up. By then, a battery factory that is still under construction should be in operation next to the car plant, said Musk.

Musk had announced the end of the so-called Giga Factory 2019 and in less than built two years ago. There should be about 12. 000 employees up to 500. 000 Build electric cars per year. According to the company, as many parts as possible should be produced on site in order to become independent of suppliers.

Musk has only had early approval for the construction of the factory, however. The last environmental approval for the entire project is still pending, and several hundred objections are still being discussed. Critics complain that the industrial building is partly being built in a water protection area. Both opponents and supporters of the project expect the approval to be granted in the next few weeks.

Musk defended his project against concerns that the production was diverting too much water from the region. “Our factory uses very little water,” he said. Tesla’s mission is the fastest possible transition to renewable energies and climate protection. At the same time, he recruited qualified employees from all over Europe. “I’m a little worried that we won’t be able to hire enough people,” said Musk.

For the County Fair, the authorities had up to 9000 people allowed at the same time. In front of the car factory, hundreds of people cavorted on a kind of fairground with a Ferris wheel and sausage stands target. In the factory, robots are already running in test operation on production lines. Above all, Tesla emphasizes the importance of its own die-casting facility and state-of-the-art paint shop.

The police reported slow traffic on access roads, but no major problems. Tesla had asked the visitors to come by train.

The car factory outside Berlin is one of the most important industrial projects in East Germany. Musk originally estimated the construction costs at 1.1 billion euros, but said in the meantime that the budget would be exceeded. Tesla has the prospect of public funding for the battery factory, which, according to media reports, could also amount to 1.1 billion euros. Speculations about four to five billion euros are not wrong, it said on Saturday. There was no more detailed information. Up to 3500 people are said to have been busy at the construction site. In addition, employees were already being hired for production, it said.

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