The Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin is seen as a major contribution to CO2-neutral mobility – and with a construction time of only two years, as a showcase model and standard for the German automotive industry, which occasionally tends to be a bit sluggish. In the new Gigafactory, an “army of robots” will initially roll a new Model Y (half SUV, half sedan) off the production line every 45 seconds. The waiting time for customers is said to be up to 10 months, depending on the equipment.
The production facility near Berlin is Tesla’s fifth large Gigafactory. In addition to its headquarters in Fremont (Calif.), the company also operates production facilities in Reno (Nevada), Buffalo (New York) and Shanghai (China). Musk invested € 5.8 billion in his first production facility in Europe.
Initially, one production line is to start operations in Grünheide, with two such lines planned in the medium term. According to experts’ estimates, the production output will be about 1,000 vehicles per week at the beginning and will be gradually increased. The planned capacity is 500,000 vehicles per year; however, Tesla will only reach this capacity after several months of process optimisation. Tesla will produce its Model Y in the new Gigafactory – initially only in the maximum configuration. This model is already being produced at other locations, and at Tesla the manufacturing processes are usually transferred 1:1 from the first production to all further production lines. In Grünheide, however, Tesla wants to test new manufacturing methods in order to achieve a higher degree of automation.
The new Gigafactory will initially employ around 2500 people. Experts estimate that this number will be sufficient for an annual capacity of 200,000 to 250,000 vehicles. Therefore, a further increase in the workforce is to be expected. In addition to the assembly of the cars, a production facility for battery cells and a recycling plant are to be built.
The German automotive industry is also heavily involved in the project – it was learned that important components will be supplied by tier-one suppliers such as Bosch, Brose, Continental and ZF, as well as software houses such as Elektrobit.
The unusually fast construction phase of the Gigafactory was made possible by particularly close cooperation between Tesla and the responsible authorities, it is said. Until recently, it was still completely unclear whether the date for the start of production, which had already been postponed several times, would be kept. This new agility is already beginning to radiate beyond Brandenburg and Germany: The Vietnamese electric car manufacturer Vinfast also wants to set up a plant in Germany, and rumours speak of Thuringia as a location.
Photo Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.