Tesla’s German factory becomes the site of the “Giga-Fest”

BERLIN – From blinking lights and booming loudspeakers to sprawling stages and a Ferris wheel, Tesla’s factory near Berlin has been turned into a festival site for a one-day regional fair on Saturday, hosted by CEO Elon Musk.

Musk hopes to gain approval to start production at the site in the coming weeks. At its peak, the plant will produce 500,000 fully electric vehicles per year, more than double the German production of complete electric vehicles in 2020.

The company also submitted plans to invest 5 billion euros ($ 5.8 billion) in a 50 gigawatt-hour battery plant next to the site, surpassing Volkswagen’s planned 40 GWh site in Salzgitter. , in Germany.

Tesla has repeatedly reminded critics that the site will bring Germany significantly closer to its electric mobility goals, but some locals and environmental groups are unhappy with Musk’s disruptive approach which they say goes against the grain. German corporate culture.

The last consultation on public concerns about the site ends on October 14, after which the Environment Ministry will decide whether to reject or approve it. The Brandenburg Minister of the Economy has set the odds of approval at 95%.

Visitors who attended the Saturday event posted videos of factory tours showing production line robots performing choreography. Others highlighted the electric buses on which they were taken to the festival site.

Tesla received approval from local authorities to have 9,000 people on site at a time despite pandemic-related restrictions limiting large gatherings to 5,000, after presenting a plan on how he would keep the city safe. COVID event, authorities said.

Attendees were given a time slot for a 1.5-hour tour of the factory and had to provide proof of a negative COVID test, vaccination or recovery, according to the admission ticket.

“We invite you to explore our factory along our production lines. You will have the chance to see how tons of raw metal are melted, pressed and assembled to build our Model Y,” the post said.