The US electric car pioneer Tesla starts production in its first European plant in Grünheide near Berlin with 3000 employees. “Tesla will hire thousands more workers in the coming months,” the company said Tuesday at the opening of the factory. At full capacity, up to 12,000 people would work there. Customers were scheduled to receive the first 30 Model Y cars on Tuesday.
Company founder Elon Musk expects high-ranking visitors and hundreds of guests at the opening ceremony. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Germany’s Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) have been announced.
The fifth big Tesla-Factory worldwide was built in a record time of just two years, building at the company’s own risk without all permits in hand. These were finally granted at the beginning of March, despite protests from citizens and environmental organizations who fear harmful consequences for the water supply, flora and fauna. Protests in front of the plant were also called for at the opening. On Tuesday morning, however, it was quiet in front of the factory gate. In addition to employees and buyers of the first 30 new cars delivered, Tesla-Fan clubs expected.
Brandenburg’s Economics Minister Jörg Steinbach (SPD) said on the Berlin-Brandenburg radio station that the state government was proud of the carmaker’s settlement. “We fooled the world. Nobody expected Brandenburg to do that,” he said. He rejected criticism of the water consumption of the car factory. There is enough water for the plant, as has also been confirmed by the court. In the case of an expansion, additional sources would have to be tapped, for what Teslawould have to pay.