Tesla applies officially to ramp up to one million cars in Berlin

Tesla is putting the bricks into place to ramp up production in its Grünheide facility, close to Berlin, to 1 million cars annually. An environmental application has been filed to double the permitted output of today.

Currently, the German plant churns out 4 000 units of Model Y per week. But according to the original plan, series production should have already reached the number of 5 000 by the end of last year.

That target was a stretch. Not in least because the factory already started production in 2021 under delay but also because the assembly lines were affected by the global supply chain crisis.

“Soon” at 5 000

Nevertheless, Grünheide closed its first full year of production at a rate of 3 000 vehicles per week. That is not bad, considering the circumstances. Last month, Tesla announced that it succeeded in raising that output by thousand units and expects an increase of a further thousand “soon.”

Ambitions are much steeper, though. Currently, the factory has a permit to produce half a million vehicles annually (some 9 500 units per week). But now, the company has asked for partial approval from Landesamt für Umwelt (LfU), the central authority for environmental protection, for 1 million vehicles per year (19 000 units per week). It is already preparing its operations for the future.

Reusing wastewater

That production target entails further work on the factory’s infrastructure and upgrading the production line. Tesla has been facing strong opposition from environmental groups in Germany, as Grünheide is located in a water protection area.

But the application stipulates that the production hike won’t affect the volume of water consumption. The production line will treat and reuse wastewater. The application for changes to the building is not yet filed.

The German factory has been amid expansion plans for some time. In October last year, an application was filed to buy extra land near the factory to upgrade the site’s logistics infrastructure. This included a goods station and a parking lot.

In the fridge

Initially, the carmaker planned to construct a battery plant in Grünheide. This investment was recently put in the fridge. Under the subsidies from US president Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the company is focusing its production ramp-up of battery cells in the United States.

The ambitious target of Tesla CEO Elon Musk is to produce 20 million vehicles by the end of the decade. In 2022, the company delivered 1.3 million cars.


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