Tesla is shrinking battery plans for Grünheide
Eproduce a little, but not as much as originally planned: This is the strategy of the American electric car manufacturer Tesla to his battery factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg. As early as late summer last year, it became apparent that Tesla could slow down its expansion plans in Germany because of the American subsidy program “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA).
A spokeswoman for the company made it clear on Wednesday: Tesla had started assembling battery systems in Grünheide, and production preparations were underway for individual components such as electrodes. The focus of battery cell production is therefore not in Grünheide.
“The IRA’s tax breaks have impacted our original plans to focus cell manufacturing at US manufacturing facilities,” the spokeswoman said. “But Grünheide is supporting the ramp-up and expansion of production in the USA.” Individual cell production components such as electrodes would be produced in Germany and then shipped to the USA sent.
Tesla boss Elon Musk celebrated the opening of the company’s first car factory on European soil on March 22 last year. At that time, both Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) came from federal politics. The fact that Tesla was only able to start production a little over two years after submitting the building application is often cited in Berlin as proof that Germany is less bureaucratic than its reputation. The hopes that rested on Tesla’s second project in Grünheide were correspondingly high: the production of battery cells in Germany is a declared industrial policy goal in order to secure jobs.
The State Ministry of Economics by Jörg Steinbach (SPD) had caused unrest on Tuesday with a statement about Tesla. “The company has prioritized further production steps in the USA because the tax conditions are more favorable there,” it said. This was interpreted as the beginning of the end of battery production in Germany. A spokeswoman for the ministry stressed the next day that it was never said that Tesla had abandoned plans to produce whole batteries. “The Grünheide site, including battery cell production, will remain under construction and will remain so with its jobs.”
There are different reports on how many employees currently work for Tesla in Grünheide. Local newspapers mention up to 8,500. Tesla once mentioned 12,000 in its plans, but at that time there was no talk of setting up battery production. Most recently, Tesla drew ire from the authorities because the company began construction work on a parking lot covered with solar panels on its premises without obtaining a permit.