American automobile powerhouse Tesla has taken another step forward in opening the doors to its very own European gigafactory near Berlin in Germany.
The doors to the US$5.5 billion Tesla gigafactory in Brandenburg were opened last month, with shipping of electric vehicles now underway.
Tesla founder and chief executive officer Elon Musk handed over the keys to the first Model Y EVs, while saying scale was critical to switching from a fossil fuel economy to a sustainable energy future.
“Every vehicle that we make is another step in the direction of a sustainable energy future.”
“We are extremely confident that the world can transition to a sustainable energy future, with the combination of solar and wind, battery storage and electric vehicles,” he said.
After facing several hurdles and delays in licencing and local issues, Tesla received the all clear from local authorities on 4 March to begin production in Germany, provided it met conditions ranging from its water use to air pollution controls.
Musk wasn’t alone in the unveiling of the new Tesla gigafactory, with German chancellor Olaf Scholz also present.
The German chancellor said the gigafactory was a crucial day for the transition to electric mobility in Germany, where 14% of new car sales are already electric.
“The path towards electromobility is another step away from oil imports,” he said.
While the gigafactory shows promise for a future of greater sustainability and greater electric vehicles on the roads, it adds competition for existing German vehicle manufacturers, namely Volkswagen and Mercedes.
Tesla aims to manufacture 500,000 electric vehicles per year in Germany by 2025, in comparison to Volkswagen which just last year sold 450,000 EVs globally.
Next step to combat European roads
Nine years on from the introduction of autonomous driving in the United States, Tesla now hope to make “full self-driving” software in Europe later in the year.
Musk says this hasn’t been feasible in the past, but has now become a priority.
“It’s quite difficult to do full self-driving in Europe,” he said.
Contrary to America, work needs to be done to deal with the difficult driving situations in Europe where roads differ from country to country.
Nearby battery plant to be established in Germany
With fears petrol prices are set to reach record highs in coming years, the future of electric mobility looks promising with interest in EVs, new and used, reaching record highs in recent times.
Experts believe EVs will help the world approach zero net emission goals.
Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) could benefit from the news with its proposed 10,000 tonne per annum battery materials coating plant in the nearby state of Saxony.
Altech has come up with a breakthrough technology of coating battery anodes in high purity alumina.
Just last year the company reported a 30% higher energy lithium-ion battery with improved recyclability and battery life using its coated composite silicon and graphite anode material.
Altech is in a race to get its technology to market with recent land purchases, commencement of a pilot plant and progress on the pre-feasibility study for the plant.