WSJ: Tesla Wants to Replicate China Success With German Factory

Tesla CEO Elon Musk pulled off opening a brand-new car factory in China with breakneck speed, sending the company’s shares to record heights. A follow-up act in Germany faces potential speed traps, The Wall Street Journal writes.

Tesla, which in November outlined its German factory plan, in recent weeks filled in some details for building on a site outside Berlin. The new facility in the state of Brandenburg is slated to go up quickly, if not quite within a year’s time as achieved in China. Mr. Musk, though, is known for aggressive self-imposed deadlines that are often missed.

Among the challenges for his German plan are two peculiar ones: colonies of bats and unexploded World War II bombs that would need to be removed from the factory site before construction can begin, the Journal noted.

The two overseas factories are key to making Tesla a global car maker. Together with the company’s main plant in Fremont, Calif., Tesla’s production capacity could be on course to exceed a million vehicles a year. Tesla built about 50,000 cars in 2015, with its output rising to above 360,000 vehicles in 2019.

When Tesla can reach the million mark is uncertain. It plans an initial output of 150,000 cars in Germany, growing to 500,000 at a later, unspecified point, matching its China ambitions, the Journal adds.

The company wants to begin its German production, including its mass-market Model 3 car and the coming Model Y sport-utility vehicle, in July 2021, according to filings with the state government.

Tesla has indicated in filed documents that the facility outside Berlin would employ fewer than 4,000 people, though employment could grow to more than 8,000 as production increases.

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