Germany tells Elon Musk he can have whatever he needs for new Berlin plant

Nora Tam | South China Morning Post | Getty Images

Tesla boss Elon Musk has been told by Germany’s economy minister that he can have whatever he needs for his new electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Berlin. 

“We are very proud of your car plant in Brandenburg and we wish you good luck with that,” Peter Altmaier told Musk in Berlin, according to Bloomberg

“You’ll have every assistance you need,” Altmaier reportedly said at a meeting with lawmakers from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. 

CNBC sought to verify the comments but Tesla and the German government did not immediately respond. 

Tesla announced its latest so-called Gigafactory in November and it is currently under construction. It is the company’s first European factory, and its fourth worldwide. The original Gigafactory is in Nevada and the other two are in Buffalo, New York, and Shanghai, China. A fifth “Cybertruck Gigafactory” is planned for Texas.  

The German plant — located around 20 miles south east of Berlin in the Brandenburg town of Gruenheide — could hire around 12,000 people and make up to 500,000 vehicles a year when it is up and running. Production is slated to start in summer 2021.  

While in Berlin, Musk met Brandenburg state premier Dietmar Woidke. “It was a very pleasant and focused conversation,” Woidke said in a statement. “Elon Musk is familiar with all the details of the Gruenheide Gigafactory.” 

Fans and protesters gathered at the Gruenheide site as the billionaire passed by on Wednesday.

Environmental activists brought the factory’s development to a standstill for a few days in February after they raised concerns with Tesla’s plan to chop down trees to clear land for the new plant. However, the local government agency overseeing its intended site gave it permission to clear 91 hectares of forest land.

Musk has been travelling in Germany since Tuesday. He visited vaccine development firm CureVac in Tubingen before continuing on to Berlin. Tesla is helping CureVac to build mobile molecule printers that could support the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

During his trip, Musk also met with Health Minister Jens Spahn, Research Minister Anja Karliczek, and CDU faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus. He discussed the progress of a collaboration between the car maker and Curevac, as well as the planned car factory, according to Reuters

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