Who are the designers of the Gigafactory

Design and development center : Berlin is waiting for Tesla

Elon Musk answered the question of a Twitter user whether Tesla was planning a software development center in Berlin with "Yes". That was in August 2020. Ten months earlier, the Tesla boss in Berlin had announced that the US automaker would not only build a gigafactory in Brandenburg, but also wanted to install a “design and development center” in the capital.

The location was great. The most valuable car manufacturer in the world not only wants to produce, but also to research and develop in Berlin. Drawings of a new compact model were already circulating, which could possibly be developed in Berlin especially for the European market. "Probably a good one to design & engineer in Germany," tweeted Musk. While looking for a parking space in Berlin, he came up with the idea for a smaller model, Musk later reported at the European Battery Conference.

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Lots of excitement in Berlin. But there was not much more to be learned from Tesla - until today. The announced activities in the city have now become very quiet, while the plant in Grünheide is growing and the neighboring construction of a large battery factory is being prepared. Will nothing go of the plans in Berlin?

"There's nothing off the table."

As usual, inquiries from Tesla are (not) answered: "We are currently not commenting on the topic," writes a spokesman. After all, that does not rule out the fact that there will be more information soon. This is also assumed in Berlin. In summer or autumn, when the Gigafactory in Grünheide builds the first electric cars, the topic will get more attention again, say insiders. "Nothing is off the table." The talks about "one or the other location" for the development center would continue, says the spokesman for Senator for Economic Affairs Ramona Pop.

Observers speculate that Tesla is still undecided what exactly should happen in Berlin. It's different in Shanghai, where Tesla opened a car factory at the end of 2019. The first research and development center outside the United States is to be built there in the course of the year - with 20 laboratories and plans for the $ 25,000 car that Tesla plans to develop, manufacture in China and export all over the world.

And in Berlin? "I'm looking forward to autumn," says Stefan Franzke, the managing director of the Berlin Partner business development agency, meaninglessly or meaninglessly. “Everything that Elon Musk has announced continues. He has implemented everything he planned to date. ”Unfortunately, he could not say more about the size and start of the design and development center. "We have agreed strict confidentiality with Tesla."

Tesla has committed everyone to secrecy

There is a lot of talk in the talks about these “non-disclosure agreements”, or NDA for short, with Tesla. "Highly sensitive" is the subject, says the spokesman for the Senator for Economic Affairs. Everything that the listed US corporation (market capitalization: 570 billion dollars) plans is subject to strict confidentiality agreements. Even the comparatively small investment in the German capital. "Tesla is concentrating 100 percent on its milestones - and that is initially the Gigafactory in Grünheide," says Franzke.

On February 8, the economic committee of the Berlin House of Representatives also dealt with the Tesla project. “Which location would be considered for the Tesla design and development center?” Was the topic of the meeting. Ramona Pop's proposal to lure Tesla to the former airport site in Tegel should have little chance. The US group is interested in quick access to the major airport BER and the plant southeast of Berlin, it is said. That would speak for a location in the Adlershof Technology Park or in the former electrical industry center in Oberschöneweide. Tesla representatives did not contribute to the hearing in the economic committee. There is still no news, it was said.

Elon Musk invites you on a "funny journey"

Karin Teichmann, board member of the Berlin research campus Euref, was also invited. There, in the summer of 2020, the information was spread that Tesla wanted to move into the expanded gasometer. The settlement remained a nice wish, last week Senator Pop announced that Deutsche Bahn would accommodate 2,000 employees in the gasometer. As reported, Gasag will also move to the Euref campus in a few weeks.

Public relations, something you had to learn in Berlin and Brandenburg, only takes place on the executive floor at Tesla. Elon Musk is reserved to whisper cryptically on Twitter about upcoming projects in Berlin. "Like no other CEO, Elon Musk is the driver of the company and all projects," says Franzke. "Musk is also behind the R&D center in Berlin - by the way, also behind the techno disco in the Grünheider factory." "When you are in the Berlin area, this is one of the things you might want to see," he added in a recent Fortune interview. “It will be cool and fun. A gem. ”The Tesla factory in Brandenburg is worth“ a fun trip ”.

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