Potsdam, Oct 10 (BUS): Thousands of people headed to Tesla’s new plant on the outskirts of Berlin on Saturday as electric car maker Elon Musk hosted the “boycott fair”.
During the event, Musk said he wants to start production on site by December at the latest. After that, it will take until the end of next year to ramp up production, with the ultimate goal of producing 500,000 electric cars annually, according to the German news agency (dpa).
By then, Musk said, there should be a battery factory still under construction next to the auto plant.
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Tesla factory under sunny weather and blue skies. A ferris wheel, food trucks, and a DJ were among the attractions.
Guests were able to tour the factory as well as drive a Tesla Model Y, which will be produced at the new plant. The robots were already working in test mode on production lines.
The police reported a traffic jam on the access roads, but no major problems. Tesla encouraged people to travel to the event by train.
Visitors had to make advance reservations for tickets which were in great demand.
The electric car factory is one of the most important industrial projects to be built in eastern Germany for years.
Musk announced the so-called Gigafactory at the end of 2019 and built it in less than two years. In the future, about 12,000 employees will build up to 500,000 electric cars annually there.
Tesla hopes the plant will begin operations this year despite the fact that it has not yet been granted final environmental approval from the state of Brandenburg.
Since approval is likely, the company continues to expand the plant.
However, local residents and activists fear that the construction may harm drinking water and negatively affect the surrounding environment.
Musk has defended his project against concerns that production is diverting too much water from the area.
“Our factory uses very little water,” he said. He added that Tesla’s mission is to transition to renewable energy and climate protection as quickly as possible.
He also invited qualified personnel from all over Europe to join the team in Germany. “I’m a little worried that we won’t be able to hire enough people,” Musk said.
In order to hold the open day, Tesla obtained passes allowing up to 9,000 attendees to attend and the ability to host the event even though the site is located in a protected area.