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Elon Musk Aims for Tesla to Start Building Cars at the New German Gigafactory in October

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【Summary】​Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said on Friday that he hopes to start producing electric cars at the company’s new Factory in Germany by October, or shortly after. Musk, who traveled to Germany on Wednesday in his private jet to meet with state officials and check on the progress of the plant, has expressed frustration over the lack of progress on the $6.9 billion factory.

FutureCar Staff    Aug 13, 2021 9:50 AM PT
Elon Musk Aims for Tesla to Start Building Cars at the New German Gigafactory in October
Construction continues at Tesla's Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said on Friday that he hopes to start producing electric cars at the company's new Factory in Germany by October, or shortly after, Reuters reported on Friday.

Musk, who traveled to Germany on Wednesday in his private jet to meet with state officials and check on the progress, has expressed his frustration in the lack of progress on the $6.9 billion factory. 

During his last visit in May, Musk blamed government bureaucracy in Germany for the delays in completing construction. As a result, He pushed back the planned opening for the factory to late 2021. Musk originally wanted the factory open by July 1.

"We're looking forward to hopefully getting the approval to make the first cars maybe in October if we are fortunate," Musk said on a visit to the plant on Friday with Armin Laschet, Germany's conservative candidate who will succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor.

Construction on the factory was delayed due to concerns about the impact of Tesla's factory on the environment, as the plant partly overlaps a drinking water protection zone and borders a wooded nature preserve. 

The environmental agency in the city of Brandenburg, where the plant is located, has yet to give final approval to open, meaning further delays cannot be ruled out, even until 2022.

Germany is known for its cultural adherence to rules and regulations. However, the country's complex regulations and stringent approval processes have frustrated Musk, who is under pressure to open the factory and ramp up global EV production to keep Tesla profitable.

Although Tesla's goal of transitioning the world to sustainable energy fits with the European Union's climate goals, Musk expressed concern that too many regulations can stifle progress and make its hard to do business in Europe.

Musk called for a periodic review of regulations at local, state, and federal level in Germany, and at EU level, to determine if they are a net benefit, Reuters reported.

With ever-more rules, he warned, "eventually people will not be able to do anything at all."

Despite the delays and concerns of regulators, Tesla' German gigafactory is for the most part, welcome in the region.

"We've gotten a lot of support and that's very much appreciated," said Musk. "We feel very welcome and we're very happy to be here in Deutschland."

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

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

Tesla is also in the process of building a fourth factory near Austin, Texas to build its futuristic Cybertruck. But the Cybertruck has been delayed until at least 2022. In the meantime, Tesla will focus on ramping up production of the Model Y. 

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