Elon Musk pulls out his dance moves again as Tesla factory opens in Germany

The new electric vehicle plant will produce 500,000 cars annually at full capacity

Elon Musk may be the wealthiest person in the world, but it appears his money hasn't bought him smooth dance moves.

The Tesla chief executive got his groove on as the company opened its new gigafactory in Germany, the electric car maker's first manufacturing plant in Europe.

"Tesla will make sure this is a gemstone for the area, for Germany, for Europe and for the world," he said at the opening as the first 30 Model Y vehicles rolled out amid cheering and loud music, in front of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"This is a great day for the factory," Mr Musk said, adding that it is "another step in the direction of a sustainable future".

Mr Musk's celebratory dance moves were also seen in China back in 2020, when the first Model 3 cars were delivered at the company's Shanghai factory.

Until now, Tesla has been dependent on its Chinese site to produce Model Y cars for customers in Europe.

The German plant opening comes as Mr Musk has flagged a "master plan part 3" for Tesla, which, he said, will map out scaling the company to an "extreme size".

With plans to hire 12,000 workers, the German gigafactory and adjacent battery plant will become the biggest employer in the German state of Brandenburg, where it is based.

At full capacity, it will produce 500,000 cars annually — more than the 450,000 battery-electric vehicles that main rival Volkswagen sold globally in 2021 — and generate 50 gigawatt hours of battery power, surpassing all other plants in the country.

Tesla said that new orders of the $70,500 Model Y from the plant could be delivered from April. The car has a range of 514km.

The company's shares ended up 7.9 per cent on Tuesday, at their highest level in more than two months.

Mr Musk also announced at the factory opening that Tesla is likely to launch a test version of its new full self-driving software in Europe, possibly next year, depending on regulatory approval.

"It's quite difficult to do full self-driving in Europe" due to the tricky driving situation in the region where roads vary a lot by country, he said.

Updated: March 23, 2022, 7:11 AM
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