Tesla maintains battery factory project in Berlin

According to Brandenburg’s economy minister, Tesla has not suspended plans for a battery factory in Berlin, contrary to what the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

This is a rumor that caused a small earthquake last week in a Europe in the midst of energy transition. According to the wall street journalTesla reportedly paused plans for a battery factory in Berlin, next to the assembly site that started production of the Model Y SUV earlier this year.

A construction site still officially in progress

A project yet at the heart of Tesla’s industrial development in Europe, allowing it to locally produce vehicles and batteries. But the American daily linked this decision to pause the construction of this new site in Berlin to the new American subsidies for the purchase of electric cars, which condition their payment to production in North America, both of the vehicles and batteries. Clearly, Tesla would now have more interest in exporting batteries from the United States, rather than producing them in Europe.

In a tweet published this Wednesday, September 21, the Minister of Economy, Labor and Energy of the Land of Brandenburg, where the European factory of Tesla is located, however denied this rumor.

Jörg Steinbach explains that he spoke “with Tesla in Washington”, adding that “the commitment to Grünheide (the exact location of the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, editor’s note) remains unchanged, particularly with regard to the expansion plans of the car manufacturing”.

“‘(The construction of) the battery factory will be (well) finished,” he concludes.

Earlier in the week, the husband of Grünheide, Arne Cristiani, had already confirmed to Reuters that the battery factory project in Berlin was still relevant.

The future “largest battery production plant in the world”

Tesla had so far not really given a start date for battery production in Berlin. On a dedicated page of its official website, the American brand mentions “a start-up planned for this year” but then mentions both the assembly of vehicles, already started, and the production of battery cells, implied in a Secondly.

During a visit to the Berlin factory site at the end of 2020, Elon Musk had displayed strong ambitions, evoking that the site would establish itself as “the largest battery cell factory in the world”. In detail, he had indicated that production would start with a capacity of 100 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, before increasing to 200 or even 250 GWh per year.

Contacted, Tesla had no comment to make, nor more details on the start date envisaged for the production of batteries.

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