30 clients and their families clapped and cheered as Tesla Chief Executive Musk danced and laughed with fans as they received their first view of their gleaming new vehicles via a glittering, neon-lit Tesla-branded tunnel.
Elon Musk was applauded as he oversaw the delivery of Tesla’s inaugural German-made cars now at Gruenheide plant on Tuesday, signifying the commencement of the American automaker’s initial European base just two years after its announcement.
“This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said, describing it as “another step in the direction of a sustainable future”.
Musk stated that a test version of Tesla’s new “Full Self-Driving” software would be released in Europe next year, subject to regulatory permission.
“It’s quite difficult to do full self-driving in Europe,” he told plant workers on Tuesday that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to deal with difficult driving scenarios in Europe, where roads differ greatly from nation to country.
Musk had wanted to start producing at the factory 8 months ago, but difficulties in obtaining licenses and local concerns over the plant’s environmental impact slowed things down.
Race with Volkswagen
Tesla said the new owners acquired the Model Y Performance configuration, which costs $70,500 -63,990 euros and has a range of 514 kilometers (320 miles), and that fresh orders from the plant might be fulfilled as early as April.
When fully operational, the factory would produce 500,000 cars per year, exceeding 450,000 battery-electric automobiles sold internationally by German rival Volkswagen in 2021.
It will also produce 50-gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery power, outperforming all other German plants. Before starting local battery manufacture, Tesla is anticipated to import batteries from China because of its German-made Model Ys.
For the time being, Volkswagen has the upper hand in the battle to electrify Europe’s fleet, with such a 25% market share compared to Tesla’s 13%.