Place Your Bets: German Gigafactory Operational By October?

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
place your bets german gigafactory operational by october

Tesla Gigafactory has been hit with more red tape than a last-minute Christmas present and is reportedly nearing completion. Elon Musk even suggested the facility could be producing vehicles by the end of October. However, some of the language emanating from his recent 0n-site engagement has us wondering what the odds are on that becoming a reality. The facility has already been delayed on more than one occasion by environmental activists and bureaucratic hang-ups. Though it now appears to be within a few weeks of commencing operations, Tesla’s CEO didn’t sound overly optimistic about the target.

On Friday, Musk met with Armin Laschet — Germany’s leading Conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor — to tour the grounds of Gigafactory Berlin (technically Gruenheide). Though the main event was Elon’s preceding meeting with local Brandenburg officials that have not yet given final approval on the facility, citing ecological concerns.

“We’re looking forward to hopefully getting the approval to make the first cars maybe in October if we are fortunate,” Musk was quoted by Reuters as saying during the factory tour.

From Reuters:

Tesla has faced resistance over the plant whose site partly overlaps a drinking water protection zone and borders a nature reserve.

“This region has so much water, look around you,” Musk said at the factory when asked about the water concerns. “It’s like water everywhere here. Does this seem like a desert to you?” he asked, laughing. “It rains a lot.”

“We’ve gotten a lot of support and that’s very much appreciated,” he said. “We feel very welcome and we’re very happy to be here in Deutschland.”

The level of precipitation doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not Tesla’s presence is going to sully the surrounding protected environment. But you have to give the guy credit for being adept at dancing around criticism and knowing what to say to ensure the desired effect. It’s assuredly one of his strongest traits as a businessman, making him a modern P. T. Barnum with sufficient substance to avoid some of the criticisms leveled at the elder — not that either magnate seems to mind or deny their roles as showmen.

Following the tour, Musk suggested that locals show up to the facility to make up their own minds. “Giga Berlin-Brandenburg county fair & factory tour on 9 October!” he tweeted. “Priority for residents of Brandenburg & Berlin, but also open to general public.”

But the statements issued to the press were less than rosy. Terms like “hopefully” and “if we are fortunate” would seem to indicate the CEO has little confidence that Brandenburg is going to go easy on the facility. It wasn’t just Musk, either. Laschet has been critical of regulators in the past and has been exchanging blows with political rivals and the media ahead of September’s election.

“Sometimes one has the impression that inventing something new is technologically easier than dismantling bureaucracy in Germany,” he told reporters while touring the factory.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk has requested Germany issue periodic reviews of government regulations at local, state, and federal levels to determine if they’re actually benefiting the nation. He’s requested the same be done by the European Union upon identical grounds. He’s claiming that they likely are not, adding that he wanted the Gigafactory to “serve as an inspiration to people in Germany” and cautioned overregulation will eventually make commerce too costly or difficult for anyone to bother pursuing.

“It cannot always be about problems every day. Do you want to wake up every morning and everything’s just a problem? Musk asked. “[I want] people to be inspired about the future, and don’t forget to have children — that’s important.”

While Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love Of All” is likely playing in your head after hearing that, the Randy Watson version is vastly superior, especially if you think Musk is pandering. But the dude has seven kids so he’s definitely been, uh, walking the walk. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if he’s as earnest about the rest.

[Image: Jag_cz/Shutterstock]

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3 of 12 comments
  • Myllis Myllis on Aug 14, 2021

    Musk didn't mentioned IG Metall workers union. Tesla is now a collision course with IG Metall. IG Metall is Germany's largest, strongest and richiest union and it can freeze Berlin factory totally (nothing comes in and nothing comes out). IG Metall drives Tesla workers same benefits, equal salaries, health care, pension, holidays, work council and rules, what Mercedes, BMW and VW has accepted. IG Metall wants also seat on board as they have Mercedes, BMW and VW boards. Without contract with IG Metall, Tesla Berlin factory will never get cars out. Strong German unions has been culture shock for many US companies like and Wallmart. Retail giant Amazon had to learn it hard way and Wallmart had to leave from Germany.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Aug 14, 2021

      I would hope Tesla considered this angle before choosing a German site. If your scenario comes to pass, Tesla should just walk away and build a new factory in Romania or something.

  • Sundance Sundance on Aug 16, 2021

    "It cannot always be about problems every day. Do you want to wake up every morning and everything’s just a problem? Musk asked." Sorry Elon, that's our German nature. We can't just be happy. And we hate so see another one being happy. So we try everything to bring everone down and that's why we invited German bureaucracy.

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.