Elon Musk flew to Germany on Saturday to announce that the new Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin will begin production as early as next month. Musk, who was accorded rock star status by an adoring crowd of 9,000 invited guests, said “Starting production is nice, but volume production is the hard part. It will take longer to reach volume production than it took to build the factory.”
He added that the factory should be capable of making 5,000 cars a week, and “hopefully 10,000” eventually. Battery cells for all those cars will be manufactured at a factory next door that is expected to start production before the end of next year. That facility represents an investment of €5 billion and will be capable of producing 50 GWh of batteries a year. By comparison, the new Volkswagen battery factory in Salzgitter is targeted to manufacture 40 GWh of batteries.
Tesla has yet to receive permission from local officials in the state of Brandenburg to begin production. According to Autoblog, the latest consultation on public concerns about the factory closes on October 14, after which the Environment Ministry will make a decision. Brandenburg’s economy minister says the chances of the factory gaining approval to operate are around 95%. There are certainly going to be a lot of long faces if that approval is not forthcoming.
Not everyone is happy about the new factory, even though Tesla is pumping a lot of money into the local economy and scouring Europe looking for workers. “I would tell him to stop building electrocars but rather fly to Mars,” said Manu Hoyer, the leader of a small group of locals who oppose the project on environmental grounds, saying it will pollute drinking water.
Muskie McMuskface responded with his usual hauteur by saying the factory will use “relatively little” water and that battery cell production at the site will be “sustainable.” Bear in mind, this is the same fellow who makes billion-dollar business decisions based on perceived insults from minor government officials. Too much opposition could cause the great and powerful Musk to look elsewhere in the future.
If you want to see Musk’s speech in person, it is all over social media. One example is posted below for your viewing pleasure.
4680 Cells? Battery-Mounted Seats?
Social media is not always the most accurate source when it comes to news, so with that caveat, below are two tweets that purport to tell us about some interesting new developments at the Grünheide factory. They follow announcements Tesla made at Battery Day with regard to structural battery packs.
— Gali (@Gfilche) October 9, 2021
We have known that Tesla is working on its new large-format 4680 battery cells for a while now, but it appears they will make their first appearance in the Model Y being produced in Germany. The larger batteries are just part of the story. They are supposed to be mounted in a battery pack that is a structural element of the car rather than simply being raised into position and bolted to the chassis from below.
In July, Whole Mars Catalog tweeted, “This is incredible. It’s the whole floor of the vehicle. And then you can see the parts that connect to the front and rear underbody like they talked about at Battery Day. It’s so simple. It just looks like a structural element of the car, but it’s the whole battery pack.”
But wait, there’s more! If the seats in most vehicles are bolted to the floor pan but now the floor pan is the top of the battery pack, does that mean the seats in the German-made cars will be bolted directly to the battery pack? According to another tweet that surfaced on Reddit, apparently so.
— Adam Berg (@AdamBerg4680) October 9, 2021
Is this a good thing? The opinions on Reddit are all over the place. Your mileage may vary. See dealer for details!
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