Elon Musk plans ‘world’s biggest battery factory’ at Tesla plant near Berlin

Jill Petzinger
·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks to media as he arrives to visit the construction site for Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin, Germany in September 2020. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks to media as he arrives to visit the construction site for Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin, Germany in September 2020. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla (TSLA) boss Elon Musk is aiming to build the world’s largest battery factory at the site in the state of Brandenburg, Germany where he is currently constructing Tesla’s first European car plant.

Musk, who recently became the second-richest man in the world, set out his ambition to create the massive battery plant near Berlin at a virtual European Battery Conference on Tuesday.

Musk was already planning a battery-cell production facility at the Brandenburg site. On Tuesday he said cell production in Brandenburg would begin with a capacity of around 100 gigawatt hours a year, before ramping up to 200 or 250 gigawatt hours a year.

“I’m pretty confident at that point it would be the largest battery-cell plant in the world,” Musk said.

“We welcome the project to manufacture the most environmentally friendly battery cells in Germany,” German economy minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday. “This creates 10,000 jobs.”

Tesla Gigafactory under construction in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany. Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters
Tesla Gigafactory under construction in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany. Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

German politicians have expressed major support for Musk’s factory, saying that it boosts Germany’s standing as an attractive business location. Altmaier told Musk in September that the government “will help in whatever way needed to get Tesla's Berlin plant up and running.”

READ MORE: Germany sees Tesla plant as catalyst for other large-scale projects

However, a spokeswoman from Brandenburg’s environment ministry told Handelsblatt newspaper that they had not received the corresponding building application for the battery factory.

WATCH: Tesla gets green light to clear site for new gigafactory near Berlin

Tesla is still waiting for its final building permission for its Gigafactory too. However, it has started construction at a rapid pace based on preliminary licences, amid local protests and complaints over environment and water damage.

The Gigafactory in Brandenburg is targeting 500,000 vehicles a year at full capacity. Tesla has said it will create around 10,000 jobs.

Musk has several other interests in Germany. He bought Grohmann Automation in 2016 — that company is now making special RNA printers for German biotech CureVac, one of the leading companies working on a COVID-19 vaccine.

Tesla also last month got official approval from Germany’s federal cartel office for its merger with ATW, an automotive supplier based in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

READ MORE: CureVac CEO talks Tesla tie-up and 2021 COVID-19 vaccine approval

Musk said in September that Tesla was developing a radically cheaper new electric car battery, but it would not be ready for about three years.