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Germany Promises Elon Musk Whatever He Needs For Tesla Berlin Plant

Germany’s economy minister promised Elon Musk the government will help in whatever way needed to get Tesla Inc.’s Berlin plant up and running as soon as possible.

“We are very proud of your car plant in Brandenburg and we wish you good luck with that,” Peter Altmaier told Musk at a meeting of Angela Merkel’s caucus group in Berlin. “You’ll have every assistance you need.”

Musk has been touring Germany since Tuesday, visiting German pharmaceutical company Curevac GmbH, before moving on to Berlin.

The factory, under construction, would be Tesla’s first European car plant, and could employ an estimated 12,000 people, making as many as 500,000 cars a year. The factory is slated to start production in summer 2021, an aggressive timetable for a car plant.

At the construction site in Gruenheide outside Berlin, Musk fans and a handful of anti-Tesla protesters congregated in case the billionaire passed by on Wednesday.

Locals have complained that trees were cut down for the factory and that it’s being built in a region with scarce water resources, but construction has progressed relatively smoothly so far.

Tesla still needs final approval from authorities for the site, but local officials have repeatedly signaled they’re behind the project.

A summer 2021 production start is still the goal, Brandenburg’s premier Dietmar Woidke said in an emailed statement. Musk, the premier and the state’s economy minister Joerg Steinbach also met in Berlin to discuss the next regulatory steps for the factory, which include a public hearing on Sept. 23.

Elon Musk with Joerg Steinbach and Dietmar Woidke in Berlin, on Sept. 2.
Elon Musk with Joerg Steinbach and Dietmar Woidke in Berlin, on Sept. 2. Source: Brandenburg State Chancellery

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