Elon Musk was filmed dancing as the first Model Y electric crossovers rolled off the line at Tesla’s first European factory in Guenheide, near Berlin, on Tuesday. The plant was months behind schedule and protestors were seen near it questioning the facilitie’s green bona fides.
Musk was present to welcome 30 clients and their families who were given the opportunity to see their vehicles as they left the assembly line.
“This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said, per Reuters, and described it as “another step in the direction of a sustainable future.”
As he cheered the plant’s environmentalism, though, protestors could be seen outside opposing the factory for its water use. Indeed, the plant came under investigation almost a year ago and construction stopped for possible illegal plumbing that could have sent wastewater into the local drinking supply. Local authorities also investigated the factory for allegedly underpaying the workers who built it and setting them up in dangerous living quarters.
The plant will eventually help Tesla achieve its sales ambitions in Europe as it competes with local manufacturers like Volkswagen. Eventually capable of producing up to 500,000 vehicles and generating 50 GWh of batteries per year, it will be Germany’s single largest EV plant.
Elon is dancing again!! pic.twitter.com/IKcQCYhk6u
— Tesla_Adri (@tesla_adri) March 22, 2022
At present, though, Tesla has only hired about 3,500 out of expected 12,000 workers who will eventually operate the plant. Customers will start receiving their cars from the factory starting in April, which should help Tesla avoid costs associated with importing vehicles from Shanghai, as it had been doing in the interim. Coincidentally, that’s where we last saw Musk cut a rug.
Tesla currently has a 13 percent share of Europe’s EV market, which puts it behind VW, which controls a quarter of the market.