Tesla Eyes Major Expansion at German Gigafactory

Bullion Bite

Tesla has declared its intentions to substantially increase the output of its German factory, situated close to Berlin, with an ambitious strategy aimed at doubling its current production levels to achieve a yearly output of a million electric vehicles. This stands as a significant move for Tesla's only manufacturing base in Europe.

The American automaker filed an expansion proposal for the Gruenheide plant, which is under the jurisdiction of Brandenburg's regional environment ministry. Following this application, the public will be given a two-month period, starting Wednesday, to voice any potential objections during a consultation phase.

According to Tesla, the key objective is to elevate the plant's production to a yearly output of "1,000,000 vehicles". Concurrently, the company plans to increase the production capacity of battery storage at the Gruenheide Gigafactory, raising it from the current 50 gigawatt-hours annually to "100 gigawatt hours".

The implementation of this ambitious strategy necessitates the expansion of existing structures as well as the erection of a new production hall. Tesla envisages a potential increase in its workforce, with the current count of approximately 10,000 employees potentially rising to "22,500".

The company, led by the renowned innovator Elon Musk, refrained from stating a timeline for the planned expansion. 

At present, the Gruenheide factory produces approximately 5,000 electric vehicles per week, equating to an annual output of 260,000 vehicles. If the proposed expansion gains approval, it would position the Gruenheide plant as Germany's most significant car manufacturing site, according to financial outlet Handelsblatt, surpassing Volkswagen's Wolfsburg facility, which boasts an annual capacity of 800,000 vehicles.

Tesla's German plant, which was inaugurated last year, faced significant challenges during its two-year establishment phase, including administrative hurdles, legal issues, and public concerns regarding its environmental footprint, particularly water usage. To address these concerns, Tesla assured that the proposed larger factory would also function within the already contractually agreed amounts of fresh water.

The influential German union, IG Metall, welcomed Tesla's commitment to the Brandenburg region but voiced its concern about the stark contrast between Tesla's expansion plans and recent workforce reductions at the plant. IG Metall’s representative, Dirk Schulze, stressed the need for improving working conditions in Gruenheide before further expansion.

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