Tesla has started clearing and preparing an area of approximately 170 acres around the current location of its Grünheide plant, very close to Berlin. The German Gigafactory, which was officially inaugurated last March, needs to increase its storage and logistics capacity, according to a spokesperson last Saturday, confirming information that was already published by the Maerkische Onlinezeitung website some time before.
The German Tesla factory was inaugurated last March in a great event that was attended by Elon Musk himself and numerous political representatives of the country. The first Tesla factory in European territory had already started production days before, receiving the go-ahead from local and state authorities after multiple bureaucratic problems that were related, in most part, to the necessary environmental permits. A few months later now, Tesla has started the expansion process with the felling of 170 acres of trees in an area adjacent to the factory buildings. “I am pleased that Tesla is proceeding with these works,” Joerg Steinbach, economics minister for the state of Brandenburg, where the factory is located, tweeted on Friday. "Our country is becoming the center of modern mobility".
However, for now, there are no specific dates or a roadmap indicating when the new facilities will be available. As happened with those that are already underway today, adding new facilities requires the approval of the environmental authorities and the initiation of another public consultation process. These procedures were basically the beginning of the delays of the main installation, since several environmental associations alleged the excessive consumption of water and the threat to the wildlife of the local fauna and flora.
Tesla had previously announced that it needed to expand the factory by adding around 245 acres in which a field and a warehouse would be installed to reinforce rail links and stock parts.
Last March, Elon Musk - Tesla CEO - delivered the first 30 Model Y units manufactured there, after many months of bureaucratic setbacks. The company complained last year about "irritating" delays in final approval of the project, stating the process was slowing down Germany's industrial transformation.
At the beginning of October this year Tesla announced that it was managing to accelerate production ramp up of the Berlin Gigafactory, which plans to reach a production rate of 5,000 electric vehicles manufactured each week by 2023. This will mean a production ceiling of around 250,000 electric cars manufactured per year; in the last week of September, 2,000 units came off its production lines ready for delivery.
The current production of electric vehicles at Giga Berlin is entirely destined for European demand. These necessary expansion plans to increase production represent a vote of confidence on electric car sales in the old continent. As a side note, the made in Berlin models are currently equipped with type 2170 cylindrical battery cells.
The figures provided by Giga Berlin are much more modest than those reached, for instance, by other manufacturing plants such as Giga Shanghai in China, which currently produces around 750,000 vehicles per year, and which is expected to be capable of reaching one million units per year after a recent update.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.