The first Model Ys have come off the production lines: 30 units have already been delivered to customers in a symbolic ceremony that marked the official starting of the German plant. The plant, known as Giga Berlin, is located in the federal state of Brandenburg and has become Tesla's fifth global factory. It was publicly announced in November 2019, and construction began in the spring of 2020 with the aim of starting production by summer 2021.
Hey #GigaTexas,Did we just beat you to market, or what?Despite of all the red tape in ? @tesla team rocks!@elonmusk #gigaBerlin #ModelY pic.twitter.com/xO0SHVSXyP— Tesla Welt - german Podcast about Tesla (@teslawelt) March 22, 2022
But a plethora of bureaucratic problems delayed the start of activities for about eight months, when after finally receiving the corresponding permits it was possible to actually start work. The plant will be producing only Model Y units for the time being, in order to supply European markets.
This Giga Factory is located on a 300-hectare site that will house production lines that basically encompass 227,000 m²; facilities that according to Tesla are highly vertically integrated and that will have a total of 12,000 high-skilled workers.
But that will be only when the facility reaches its maximum capacity, some 500,000 units in this first phase, and once it has a battery production line. But Giga Berlin will also have space for the production of other elements such as engines, some plastic parts, seats, axles and other components.
With an initial production of 500,000 Model Y units - to be joined later by Model 3 - and battery production of up to 50 GWh, it will be the largest electric car factory in Europe by capacity. Important figures to take into account if we think that we are talking about units for a market like the European, where in 2021 the best-selling car has been the Volkswagen Golf with 205,000 units, and that entire groups such as Ford or Hyundai, 9th and 10th in sales in 2021, have slightly exceeded that half a million units mark among all its models.
Very aware of the importance of sustainability for the image of OEM manufacturers, Tesla has placed emphasis on ensuring that the environmental impact is as minimal as possible. Giga Berlin has been built in collaboration with local resident associations in order to guarantee that wildlife would be minimally affected, and by replacing the existing pine plantations with a forest made up of 60% hardwood, making it more robust, diverse and ecologically balanced.
Tesla used the knowledge gained from building the Reno and Shanghai facilities in order to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations: energy consumption per cell produced on its battery production line will decrease by 70%, water consumption per car will be lower than the combined industry average (2.2m³ vs 3.7m³), and significantly less solvents will be used in the paint shop section.
Happy Opening Giga Berlin! I am so proud. Many thanks to all who have implemented this groundbreaking factory HERE in Germany! @elonmusk @Tesla #tesla @WholeMarsBlog pic.twitter.com/3PPw9zAK9W— Andreas Ludt (@eraz00r) March 22, 2022
As for delivery times in Europe, Tesla says that the Model Y manufactured in Germany will begin at the end of March for orders already placed, while new orders will not have to wait too long, since it is estimated that some deliveries will be ready by May for the Long Range version with 20-inch wheels and the Performance models; while the Long Range with 19-inch wheels will be available by July.
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.