Elon Musk has secured official support for Tesla’s planned Gigafactory during meetings with German officials, including economy minister Peter Altmaier. The Gigafactory is currently being constructed in the Berlin area.
Altmaier has promised that the German government will support the building of the Gigafactory in any way necessary. This will add to the billions of euros that Tesla has already invested in Germany.
“We are very proud of your car plant in Brandenburg and we wish you good luck with that. You’ll have every assistance you need,” Altmaier said during one meeting that included both Elon Musk and members of the Christian Democratic Union.
“Our meeting has been inspiring and motivating. Always welcome to Brandenburg and come back soon!” said Jörg Steinbach, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy of the State of Brandenburg, in a tweet.
Elon Musk later mentioned that the meeting in Germany was a positive and productive one and thanked the Gigafactory Berlin workers for their “excellent work”. While he did not give a definite opening date for the Gigafactory, he plans to bring the new factory online as rapidly as possible as part of Tesla’s goal to accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy. Although Tesla’s electric vehicles have sometimes been criticized as simply replacing gasoline with coal, Tesla has also made considerable investments in solar energy production and has also considered innovations in the storage of power generated using wind and solar. He shared updates to the Model Y redesign and indicated that Gigafactory Berlin will include on-site battery cell production.
“It’s not just a copy of the Model Y. It’s actually a radical redesign of the core technology of building a car,” he said at a media event in Germany in which he discussed the electric vehicles that will be produced at the new Gigafactory. “I think it’s very important for our climate that we move quickly. It matters. I think it’s very important that we accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and that we move as quickly as possible. So this is the reason for the sense of urgency.”
True to form, Musk took an opportunity to mix business with a bit of lighthearted showmanship. At some point during his trip to Germany, he was seen in public sporting the same recognizable German attire seen at Oktoberfests everywhere.
(Why doesn’t he just take a vacation? Well, as he once famously said after becoming ill during a visit to South Africa, “Vacation will kill you.”)
Elon Musk also reportedly discussed autonomous driving and spaceflight with government officials. Most Tesla models already have a rudimentary “autopilot” as an option, though reviews appear to be mixed. Industry insiders and enthusiasts say that a fully functional self-driving car and the infrastructure needed to support it can save lives on the road. 36,120 people died in automobile accidents in 2019 and driver error is believed to be a major factor in most of these fatalities.