What just happened? Tesla’s first European manufacturing plant officially opened yesterday, just over two years after it was announced, and CEO Elon Musk was there to celebrate with an obligatory dance. The first thirty Model Y vehicles manufactured at the $5.5 billion Grenheide Gigafactory rolled off the production line, watched by the buyers and their families.
“This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said, describing the occasion as “another step in the direction of a sustainable future,” writes Reuters, He added that Tesla would likely launch a test version of its new Full Self-Driving software in Europe next year, assuming it gets approval from regulators.
“It’s quite difficult to do full self-driving in Europe,” he told factory workers on Tuesday, citing the difference between the US and Europe, where roads and rules vary drastically in each country.
Haha sure 🙂
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 4, 2022
Musk promised a Twitter user that he would break out the dad-dancing at the opening ceremony, which he lived up to. He appears to enjoy showing off his moves; the world’s richest man did an equally awkward jig at the opening of the Shanghai Gigafactory in January 2020. Maybe he’s keeping in shape for his fight with Vladimir Putin.
Tesla is planning on the factory outputting 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles per week by the end of this year, with an eventual production capacity of 500,000 units per year and 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery power.
Although the factory was only announced in 2019, its completion hasn’t been without problems. Environmentalists have campaigned against the project—two protestors at the opening blocked traffic for hours—and a German court ordered groundwork to be temporarily stopped over the environmental impact. Tesla has also had to deal with licensing delays from German authorities.
Tesla said the new owners received the Model Y Performance configuration, which costs 63,990 euros ($70,500) and offers a 320-mile range. The company added that new orders from the plant could be delivered from April.