Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted a video on the progress of the EV maker’s Berlin gigafactory, for which it will receive 1 billion euros ($A1.58 billion) in German subsidies towards its 4680 battery plant.
The video (embedded below) shows the huge factory covered in snow. Known as “Giga Berlin”, Tesla struck ground in early 2020 on the German factory, which will cost an estimated 4 billion euros according to Deutsche Welle.
Tesla plans to build 500,000 electric vehicles a year there, starting with the Model Y. It has also plans to make the 4680 batteries there, in what Musk thinks will become the biggest battery cell plant on the planet.
It is this phase of Giga Berlin that falls under the scope of the European Union’s 2.9 billion euro ($A4.58 billion) European Battery Innovation project, that the EU states is aimed at supporting “research and innovation in the battery value chain” – in simple terms, reducing dependency on battery makers in other regions.
“The batteries value chain plays a strategic role in meeting our ambitions in terms of clean mobility and energy storage,” said EU commissioner for internal market Thierry Breton in a statement regarding the projects sign-off last Tuesday.
“By establishing a complete, decarbonised and digital battery value chain in Europe, we can give our industry a competitive edge, create much-needed jobs and reduce our unwanted dependencies on third countries – in short, make us more resilient.”
The project, which was set up after the launch of the European Battery Alliance to shift the automotive and energy industry away from fossil fuels, will see 42 participants receive funding towards raw and advance materials, battery cells and systems, and recycling and sustainability.
Tesla joins the list with the likes of energy major Enel X, fellow battery makers such as Northvolt and other carmakers such as BMW and FCA.
Business Insider reports that while the amount of state aid Tesla will receive through the project has not yet been finalised, German government sources said it will be in excess of 1 billion euros.
Tesla’s 4680 batteries are a larger form factor than the 2170 Panasonic batteries currently used in its electric cars, having been designed to use space more optimally within a battery pack. Tesla also plans to use its patented tabless technology that improves thermal management of cells.
In late January, German media reported that Tesla received preliminary approval to begin the construction of the battery phase for its Berlin site.
While Tesla’s ambitions for its European presence are centred on re-establishing itself as a leader in the EV market after being toppled from the top of the leaderboard by the Audi e-tron and the VW ID.3, as well as becoming a leader in battery manufacturing, its at-times eccentric leader also has plans for more than just a factory.
In typical rule-breaking fashion Musk in 2020 mused to Twitter on whether Giga Berlin should have a “rave cave“.
Now, we know a little more: “It will be filled with graffiti art,” Musk added in a subsequent tweet.
It will be filled with graffiti art
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 1, 2021
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and 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. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.