Fair for 9,000 curious people: Tesla factory in Grünheide opens its gates

E-car manufacturer Tesla advertises in the Brandenburg town of Grünheide with a ferris wheel and carousel for the favor of local residents. A total of 9,000 curious people can get an impression of the first Tesla factory in Europe. The much-criticized car plant is considered an important industrial project in East Germany.

A few weeks before the expected start of production, the US electric car manufacturer Tesla presented its first European plant to the public. In front of the car factory in Grünheide near Berlin, hundreds of people cavorted at lunchtime on a kind of fairground with a ferris wheel and sausage stalls. A performance by company founder Elon Musk was on the agenda for the afternoon.

Musk announced the factory in late 2019 and built it in less than two years. In the future, around 12,000 employees will build around 500,000 electric cars a year there. Musk plans to start production this year. A battery factory is built next to the car factory. Musk is building with early approvals. The final approval for the entire project is still pending. Critics complain that the industrial building is partly being built in a water protection area.

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The authorities had allowed up to 9,000 people to attend the open house called “County Fair” at the same time. Visitors were able to tour the factory and also test drive the Tesla Model Y, which is to be produced in Grünheide. Police reported slow traffic on access roads, but no major problems. Tesla had asked visitors to come by train.

The car factory on the outskirts of Berlin is one of the most important industrial projects in East Germany. Musk originally estimated the construction costs at 1.1 billion euros, but said in the meantime that the budget would be exceeded. For the battery factory, Tesla has the prospect of public funding, which, according to media reports, could also amount to 1.1 billion euros.