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Tesla secures site for European Gigafactory

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Vehicle emissions laws legislated by the EU have put car manufacturers in a tight spot. Coming into effect next year, the stringent target calls for fleet averages of 95 grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre. Each gram over the limit equals a fine of €95, which adds up rather quickly. Had the rules applied last year, European car manufacturers would have had to deal with fines of more than €33 billion.

The solution is to offset polluting internal combustion-engined cars with a load of new electric vehicles to improve the fleet average, which is why just about every company out there is releasing EVs throughout 2020. US manufacturer Tesla, with its zero-emissions line-up, isn’t worried about carbon dioxide.

The minor hiccup in Tesla’s plans this week was a PR incident, when a few hundred people held a protest in a village outside Berlin. Tesla recently bought a 300-hectare site for €40 million, and some of the locals would prefer to keep the woods as they are. 

On the back of its most successful year yet, Tesla produced over 360000 cars in 2019, with a crucial volume-selling crossover model, the Model Y, to arrive later this year. The new factory in Grünheide will create jobs for 7000 people, and is set to make batteries and components. Additionally, an assembly line will produce Tesla Model Y crossovers, which will go up against electric rivals from established brands like the upcoming BMW iX3, Audi Q4 e-tron, and Mercedes-Benz EQC.   

Considering the Model Y is anticipated to become the brand’s best-seller, Tesla’s newest ‘Gigafactory’ will ultimately have an annual capacity of half a million cars, each with the covetous ‘Made in Germany’ label. Currently, the entry-level Model 3 holds the record, leading the charts with 300000 units sold last year.

Tesla has two factories in the US, and the third location in China started delivering cars in December, less than a year after construction work began outside Shanghai. The company’s latest Berlin facility is expected to adhere to a similar schedule, beginning operations in Q2 2021.

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