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Tesla Chief Elon Musk Says 'Red Tape' is Causing Delays in Completing its Berlin Gigafactory

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【Summary】​Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk is blaming bureaucracy and red tape for delays in completing its new Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany. The factory was scheduled to begin building cars by July 1, but that timeline has been pushed back to later this year after Tesla added plans to add battery cell production at the site, which requires an additional approval process.

FutureCar Staff    May 17, 2021 3:45 PM PT
Tesla Chief Elon Musk Says 'Red Tape' is Causing Delays in Completing its Berlin Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg under construction in Germany.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk is blaming bureaucracy and red tape for delays in completing its new Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg in Germany. The factory was scheduled to begin building cars by July 1, but now that timeline has been pushed back to later this year after Tesla added plans to add battery cell production at the site, which requires an additional approval process.

Tesla's Factory in Germany is its first European production facility and will build electric vehicles for the European market. Once fully operational, the factory will produce up to 500,000 Model Y SUVs each year, according to Tesla.

As reported by Reuters, German newspaper Tagesspiegel said that the Tesla CEO arrived in Berlin on Sunday. Brandenburg's Economy Minister Joerg Steinbach confirmed that Musk would be visiting, but no meetings were planned since the visit was mainly "technical in character".

Last month Tesla pushed ahead its timeline for opening the new European gigafactory to late 2021 after adding plans to establish battery cell manufacturing at the site.

In April, the Ministry of Agriculture in the German state of Brandenburg said the amended application will require an additional review process leading to a delayed opening.

"Since there are no further details about the nature and scope of the planned changes, statements on the process and the time it will take to take a final decision can only be made at a later stage," the ministry said in a statement.

As a result, Musk called for cuts to German red tape on Monday as he said it was unclear when exactly the first electric car would roll off the production line at the plant near Berlin.

During a visit to the Gruenheide site in the German state of Brandenburg, Musk said, "It's hard to predict with precision cause you can only make the cars when all of the pieces are here." "It looks like we're able to start production at the end of this year," Musk added.

Germany is known for its cultural adherence to rules and regulations. However, the country's complex regulations and stringent approval processes apparently don't sit too well with Musk, who is under pressure to keep Tesla profitable and ramp up production. 

"I think there could be less bureaucracy, that would be better," Musk told reporters at the Gruenheide site. Musk called the rules "immortal".

"There should be some kind of active process for removal of rules. Otherwise, over time, the rules will just accumulate and you get more and more rules until eventually you can't do anything," Musk said.

In addition to the German gigafactory, Tesla builds electric vehicles at its plant in Fremont, CA and Shanghai, China, which officially opened in Dec 2019. The Shanghai plant produces Model 3 cars for the China market, but Tesla was granted approval from officials in China to build the Model Y crossover in Nov. 2020.

Tesla is also building a fourth factory near Austin, Texas, which is also currently under construction. The Texas plant is scheduled to build the futuristic Cybertruck, although no timeline for its production has been disclosed yet. 

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