The tech pioneer has visited the construction site for the fourth Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin – and announced that he will be building a new version of the Model Y there.
is he coming or is he not coming? That was also the question on Thursday after Tesla boss Elon Musk had been expected the day before on the site of the US carmaker’s fourth gigafactory in Brandenburg. Fans and opponents positioned themselves opposite the large construction site, in the end in vain.
But on Thursday the time has come. In perfect weather, the 49-year-old entrepreneur drove to Grünheide in a black limousine – for the first time ever that the Tesla boss found out about the progress of the construction work on site.
He enters the construction site at 12.30 p.m. – wearing a black jacket, white shirt and no tie. “Germany rocks,” he calls out to the waiting journalists. “We are very happy to be here. I think this is an ideal place to build the first Gigafactory in Europe. “
Tesla wants to “create a great place to work,” said Musk. He emphasized the rapid pace of construction on the site near the A10 motorway. “You can see how fast the progress is.” This is possible because of the use of high-quality prefabricated construction. Musk later thanked him on Twitter for the “excellent work on Giga Berlin” – in German.
🇩🇪🖤Giga Berlin Mannschaft🖤🇩🇪— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 3, 2020
Vielen Dank für Ihre hervorragende Arbeit an Giga Berlin!! pic.twitter.com/KVo5mBfnXt
Musk wants to have “cool cars” made in Grünheide. “The Berliner Lackfabrik will be the most advanced paint factory of all car factories worldwide.”
Musk said he wanted to build a new version of the Model Y in Brandenburg while leaving the classic way of making cars behind. “It’s not just a copy of the Model Y, it’s a radical redesign of the technology of how a car is built,” said Musk in a video posted on the Teslarati fan website on Thursday. “It will be the first time that there will be a transformation of the essential vehicle structure. That’s a pretty big deal. Both the manufacture, the construction and the design, ”said Musk
On Wednesday, Musk had already met Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) and Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) in Berlin. Woidke later spoke of a “pleasant and concentrated conversation”.
Elon Musk is concerned with all the details of the Grünheide gigafactory. The Tesla project in Grünheide in Brandenburg is making rapid progress. “But there is still a lot of work ahead of us.” Woidke reiterated the goal that the first electric cars should roll off the assembly line in summer 2021. Later up to 500,000 vehicles are to be produced here.
After his departure, Musk praised the good cooperation with the German government. “Great trip to Germany! The support of the government and the people is very much appreciated, ”tweeted the Tesla boss on Thursday evening.
Great trip to Germany. Support from government & people is super appreciated!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 3, 2020
In Grünheide, Musk announced a big opening party for the coming year. “I hope you can all come,” he said. The Tesla boss also responded to the criticism of the water requirement for the new factory.
He is aware that there are “some problems”. “But I think we are not in a dry region,” he added. The trees in the vicinity of the plant “would not grow here if there was no water,” he said. Nevertheless, he was “definitely open to criticism”. If someone has ideas, he should share them. “We will listen.”
Build at your own risk
Criticism of the project comes from the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), which on Wednesday also submitted a series of objections to the Tesla plant in Grünheide. The actual approval process is so heavily overshadowed by the individual approvals that have since been issued in advance that an impartial review of the project’s eligibility for approval by the administrative authorities involved no longer appears to be possible due to the pressure of approval that has been generated.
A look at the Tesla construction site and the factories and plant components that have literally been built there at an overwhelming pace make this approval pressure immediately noticeable.
The final environmental approval for the billion dollar project by the state of Brandenburg is still pending. Tesla builds on the basis of individual authorizations issued in advance by the authorities in accordance with Section 8a of the Federal Immission Control Act, but at its own risk.
According to this, the approval of an early start of construction is legally possible if “a decision in favor of the applicant can be expected” and there is a “public interest of the applicant in the early start”. However, the applicant is obliged to dismantle everything and to replace the damage caused on the site if the project is not approved in the end. Most recently, the Brandenburg State Environment Agency gave the green light for the foundation and the shell.
The ÖDP, which has concerns about the ecological compatibility of the project and criticizes the incompleteness of environmental reports and assessments, accuses Tesla of “artificially created time pressure” and speaks of a completely invalidated approval process. “At this stage of the procedure, how should the authority still be able to make the decision on the plant permit as impartially as it would have done if no facts had yet been created?”
Application documents are also required that contain all construction phases up to the final stage. The overall project is not finally described at this point in time, plans are constantly changing. According to the current application documents, the originally planned battery production was omitted, but Tesla boss Elon Musk was quoted with comments that battery production was still planned – albeit at a later point in time.
Second public participation
The possibility for citizen objections ends this Thursday at midnight. According to the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment, around 400 objections have been submitted. The changed documents for the planned Tesla factory had previously been publicly displayed until August 3. However, due to the restrictions in the corona pandemic, everyone interested had to register by phone beforehand.
It was already the second public participation in the approval procedure under the Federal Immission Control Act. It had become necessary after Tesla submitted changes for the planned construction of the so-called gigafactory.
This includes, among other things, new plans to reduce energy and water consumption. The founding of parts of the factory with stakes is particularly controversial among opponents of the project. The site of the planned factory is partly in a drinking water protection area. A public hearing is scheduled for September 23. A final environmental permit is expected by the end of the year.