Elon Musk is building a huge electric car factory in the Brandenburg countryside, south-east of Berlin. At full speed, by overturning the rules and local reluctance.

For ten months now, Silas Heineken has been flying his drone over the largest construction site in progress in Germany and posting the videos on YouTube. Under the nickname “Tesla Kid”, the 14-year-old has built a network of tens of thousands of subscribers. Each week, they follow the progress of the construction site of Elon Musk’s GigaFactory emerging from the sandy soil. [du Land] from Brandenburg, south-east of Berlin, at high speed.

“He is a great visionary who has ambitious ideas, and he has managed to implement them”, Silas Heineken said. The installation of the giant electric car factory near Grünheide, the sleepy little town where he lives, is an incredible opportunity for the region, believes the schoolboy who tried to approach Elon Musk by bike on his last visit.

It is by far the largest industrial establishment in this area for a century. Jörg Steinbach, Minister of Labor in Brandenburg, believes that the region has the opportunity “To become a center of the energy revolution in Germany and in Europe”. Elon Musk has pledged to create 10,000 jobs and manufacture around 500,000 vehicles per year, starting with Tesla’s Model Y, but also to building the world’s largest battery plant on the same site. His vision will make this corner of Germany known.

On condition of anonymity, politicians talk about what they owe the boss of Tesla, who, according to them, could very well have settled in Asia, where the cost of labor is lower , and where environmental requirements and construction standards are less stringent.

Terrifying speed

If landowners are among those rubbing their hands, land prices having increased tenfold since Elon Musk’s announcement in November 2019, the project also has many opponents. The majority of them explain that they like Grünheide precisely because it is a remote place. They are amazed at how quickly the construction site is progressing – especially on the videos by Silas Heineken which show the construction of the foundry, the stamping plant, the paint shop.


Kate connolly

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