Apparently nothing will come of Tesla's plans to start the entire battery cell production in the Gigafactory in Grünheide. At the beginning of the week, the Ministry of Economics in Brandenburg told Reuters that the US electric car manufacturer had withdrawn its plans.
The international news agency quoted: "Tesla has started the production of battery systems in Grünheide and is preparing to manufacture battery cell components. The company has prioritized further production steps in the USA because the tax conditions are more favorable there." After Tesla initially did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters, a company spokesman confirmed today, Wednesday, that the electric car maker will move its cell production to the USA due to the tax incentives of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act. The batteries are used to power electric vehicles.
There had already been reports last autumn about Tesla's different plans for the construction plans for the battery factory in Grünheide. In the state of Brandenburg, on the other hand, it was still assumed that the factory would be built. A spokesman for Germany's Economics Ministry told Reuters on Wednesday that they were "working to clarify the reasons" for Tesla's decision. The Brandenburg Ministry of Economic Affairs announced that, to its knowledge, the change in course had no impact on the number of jobs at the German location. Tesla currently has at least 8,500 employees in Grünheide.
The electric car manufacturer has already started assembling batteries at its German site. In the "near future" the electric cars from German production would contain batteries that are manufactured there, the spokesman continued. Tesla is also preparing for the production of cell components such as electrodes here. Part of it should therefore be sent to the USA.
Originally, Tesla wanted to start all cell production at its German and only European location with a peak capacity of over 50 gigawatt hours per year. In March 2022, CEO Elon Musk had said that the battery plant would start series production by the end of 2023. Ultimately, however, Grünheide is lagging behind with its plans. In November, Tesla waived billions in government funding for the battery plant. However, an application for regional funding by the Brandenburg state government is still open.
Finally, in late January, Tesla announced plans to invest over $3.6 billion to add two new factories to its Nevada factory. In one, the series production of the Semi electric semitrailer, which was delayed by years, is to take place and in the other, the company wants to start manufacturing the new 4680 battery cell. So far, however, the electric car manufacturer has been struggling to ramp up its battery cell production in Fremont (California) and Austin (Texas). Tesla probably wants to turn its back on Germany – if only a little.
Because in addition to expanding the plant on the existing site in Grünheide, the US electric car manufacturer is planning to expand its area. The company wants to build its own depot for freight traffic, logistics areas and a company daycare center on an adjacent area. More forest must be cleared for the expansion. Tesla needs a new environmental permit from the state of Brandenburg. According to the Ministry of the Environment, the Brandenburg state government had already granted Tesla the acquisition of an additional area during contract negotiations in 2019 - subject to the development plan law. Mayor Arne Christiani (independent) believes that the development plan can be drawn up by next year, the German Press Agency reported in mid-January.
Sources: Reuters (1), Reuters (2), with dpa material