Germany embraces EV production with Tesla and Northvolt Gigafactories
Long regarded for its global car mecca heritage, Germany is now heralding a new era of electric vehicle production, with news that Tesla’s first European models are coming off lines at Elon Musk’s new ‘Gigafactory’ in Berlin.
Thirty key customers and their families lined up outside Tesla’s new plant this week to drive the firm’s first European EVs – dubbed ‘Model Y’ – down the autobahn in an opening that was attending by a ‘dad dancing’ Musk and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
According to Reuters Tesla has said that new car orders from the plant could be delivered from April.
Musk’s EV firm hopes that eventually the Gruenheide facility – first announced two years ago and given the official go-ahead earlier this month – will eventually produce 500,000 cars per year when at full capacity.
Rival company Volkswagen, meanwhile, is preparing to turn its Wolfsburg facility in Northern Germany into an EV production hub, although the €2bn upgrade isn’t expected to be completed until 2026.
Globally, the entire Volkswagen Group produced around 450,000 EVs last year.
The news follows last week’s announcement by Swedish EV battery manufacturer Northvolt, that it is to build a €4bn battery gigafactory near Germany’s North Sea coastline in the city of Heide.
“In Heide, we really found a spot where we could combine all our requirements: attracting talent and feeling the support for our aspiration of building the world’s greenest batteries,” said Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson.
“With the energy mix in Schleswig-Holstein, with the offshore wind coming in, but also with the linkage to Denmark and Norway in the energy feed, we saw that this is probably the best spot for us in Germany to build this set-up,” he added.
Germany is one of Europe’s leading EV battery production locations with 485 gigawatt hours of capacity in existing and planned facilities, according to business newspaper Handelsblatt.
Other major companies that have recently built or planned to build EV-focussed facilities in Germany include China battery producers CATL, global automotive supplier SVOLT and French automotive company Peugeot S.A.
Subscribe to our Editor's weekly newsletter