US-based Tesla, the electric vehicle (EV) and clean energy company, has opened its first European factory in Grünheide, near Berlin, Germany. The company has already hired 3,000 employees for the new factory with a further 9,000 positions still to be filled. At full capacity, the plant will produce 500,000 cars annually, with initial plans to produce 1,000 vehicles per week at the six-week mark, increasing to 5,000 per week by the end of 2022.

Tesla has been struggling to keep up with global demand for EVs and previously had to ship stock from China for customers based in Europe. In November 2019, when CEO Elon Musk announced his plans to open an EV plant in Germany, he acknowledged the talent available, explaining: “Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure. That is part of the reason why we are locating our ‘Gigafactory Europe’ in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin, because Berlin has some of the best art in the world.”

The company had originally intended to commence production at the plant in mid-2021; however, due to a host of complications including Covid-19 and supply chain issues, it had to postpone the opening.