Tesla has delivered the first cars from its new German factory.
CEO Elon Musk handed over 30 Model Y Performance crossovers to customers in an opening ceremony at the factory, which is variously known as Giga Germany or Giga Berlin.
First announced in November 2019, the factory is located in Grunheide, near the German capital. It marks Tesla’s first foray into Europe, which is becoming a more important market for EVs thanks to stricter emissions standards. Licensing delays meant Tesla had previously been shipping cars from China to Europe to meet demand while it waited to open the German factory, according to the report.
While the project was allegedly fast-tracked by the German bureaucracy, opposition from local environmental groups slowed progress and even caused Tesla to consider downsizing the factory. Those concerns continued in recent months, and two protestors held up traffic after the opening event, Reuters reported.
At full capacity, the German factory will be able to build 500,000 cars annually and 50 GWh of batteries, according to the report. The new factory might help Tesla assure what one analysis called “a lucrative revenue stream” from regulatory credits—along with simply cutting costs if it’s been shipping cars for Europe from China.
Meanwhile, another new factory near Austin, Texas, that was announced after the German factory, is already ramping up. The Texas factory is expected to focus on Model Y production initially, using Tesla’s new 4680-format cells. It’s also been earmarked to build the Cybertruck, but that model has been delayed once again, this time to 2023.
First Model Y deliveries at Giga Berlin pic.twitter.com/JCneGrBJRA
— Tesla (@Tesla) March 22, 2022