Tesla will start delivering Model Y electric crossovers made at its (still under construction) Berlin gigafactory by June 2021, the EV maker has told at least one expectant customer. But one recent tip suggests low volume production could begin as soon as the first quarter, according to Teslarati.
In a message sent to the blog, an eagerly awaiting Tesla customer reportedly said, “A Tesla employee told me that they expect to deliver my Berlin build model Y in Q1 or Q2 of 2021.”
The source says that the Tesla Netherlands staff had, “just received an internal update on the building process in Berlin,” according to Teslarati.
The source’s message, however, contradicts German reports on the progress of the Berlin factory construction.
While Tesla wants to begin production of its fourth volume electric vehicle in the European summer of 2021, it is uncertain yet whether it will get the green light from authorities in time.
According to the Berlin Morning Post, the German office for the environment is still considering objections and approval will not be given until the process is complete, nor is there an official timeline for this to happen.
The report says that while construction of the Berlin gigafactory is progressing rapidly, Tesla is building at its own risk with only provisional partial approvals in place, with final approval still pending.
Tesla is under incredible scrutiny over its Berlin plans: in addition to concerns about salinity and traffic, the EV maker also copped criticism for not paying a recent water bill (this has since been paid and the water apparently turned back on, according to German media reports).
At the company’s Q3 2020 earnings call on Wednesday, Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed that Tesla would be turning its focus to ramping up production of the Model Y, which he thinks will be more successful than the 3, S and X combined.
In its Q3 2020 update letter, Tesla wrote: ““Construction of the Gigafactory in Berlin continues to progress rapidly. Buildings are under construction and equipment move-in will start over the coming weeks.
“At the same time, the Giga Berlin team continues to grow. Production is expected to start in 2021.”
The EV maker broke ground for the Berlin factory in June. Given Tesla completed the Shanghai factory in 10 months, a June 2021 opening for Berlin seems possible.
However, as is Tesla’s way, it is doing something new at Berlin which will likely have its own set of challenges.
Tesla plans to build 500,000 electric cars a year at the Berlin gigafactory, and says it will employ 12,000 staff.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.