The next step in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s plans to catch up to Volkswagen in the European EV market begins with Model Y crossovers rolling off the line at Giga Berlin-Brandenburg. Musk will be on hand to oversee delivery of the first 30 vehicles.
Musk actually tweeted after arriving Monday, “Excited to hand over the first production cars made by Giga Berlin-Brandenburg tomorrow!”
The handoffs mark the second consecutive day an automaker’s started manufacturing production ready EVs. General Motors rolled out the first Cadillac Lyriq crossovers Monday at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant that once produced Saturns.
European production critical
The plant, which was expected to already be well into its production ramp up, has experienced a series of delays. The site, which will build the Model Y, is critical to Musk’s plans to unseat Volkswagen as the top seller of EVs in Europe.
VW, which is spending more than $100 billion to convert all of its brands to EVs around the world, currently holds a 25% share of EV sales in Europe whereas Tesla is at about 13 percent. However, the German automaker possesses a massive advantage over its American rivals — at least for a little bit longer — European-based production.
Giga Berlin, as it’s been dubbed by some, is Tesla’s first plant on the continent. For now, Tesla’s been shipping vehicles from the U.S. and China to Europe. While frustrating, the delay isn’t necessarily a big shock.
Musk likely knew building a plant in Germany would be — at the very least — a trying experience.
Unlike construction of the plant in China, where most of the bureaucratic bottlenecks were resolved for him as the country was desperate for more EVs, this project’s hit all the hurdles.
New vehicles follow price hikes
The EV maker raised prices twice in less than a week earlier in the month. Last week, Tesla added 5% to 10% on all its U.S. offerings, depending upon model and trim level. Prices in China rose about 5% on the Model 3 and Model Y. Those vehicles are made in China.
They follow the jump late last week, that saw the Model Y Long Range leap 20% and the Model 3 Long Range rise 10.6%, Reuters reported. Prices in China went up the same amount.
The company increased prices for the most affordable versions of Model 3 and Model Y about a dozen times last year in the United States, according to Reuters. CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla and SpaceX, Musk’s reusable rocket company, are facing massive price hikes “for raw materials and logistics.”
The raw materials Musk references include nickel, lithium, palladium, platinum and more.