Elon Musk hopes to make first Teslas at Berlin ‘gigafactory’ in October

Comapany has pushed back opening after local resistance over environmental concerns

Ground works at the Tesla Inc Gigafactory construction site in Gruenheide, Germany. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Ground works at the Tesla Inc Gigafactory construction site in Gruenheide, Germany. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

 

Tesla hopes to make the first cars at its “gigafactory” in Gruenheide, near Berlin, in October or soon afterwards, chief executive Elon Musk said on Friday.

Tesla has pushed back the expected opening of the gigafactory to late 2021, blaming German bureaucratic hurdles. The plant has also faced local public resistance due to environmental concerns.

“We’re looking forward to hopefully getting the approval to make the first cars maybe in October if we are fortunate,” Mr Musk said on a visit to the plant with Armin Laschet, Germany’s conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor.

Yet the environmental agency in Brandenburg has yet to give final approval, meaning a further delay cannot be ruled out, even until 2022.

Mr Laschet, whose personal approval ratings have dropped ahead of a September 26th federal election after he was seen laughing on a visit to a flood-stricken town, said Germany needed to cut red tape.

“Sometimes one has the impression that inventing something new is technologically easier than dismantling bureaucracy in Germany,” he told reporters, standing side-by-side with Mr Musk.

Asked if he had any tips for Mr Laschet to help energise his election campaign, Mr Musk replied: “We’re adding energy right now. This plant’s all about energy, green energy that’s sustainable.” – Reuters