It’s not only about the bureaucracy but also about the 4680 cells.

For this news to make sense, you’ll have to remember three others. The first one is that Elon Musk promised Giga Grünheide would be a testbed for new technologies, which means the Model Y made there would have 4680 batteries. The second is that these cells are not ready for production yet. The third relates to Tesla’s hurdles in getting its German factory ready. That all allegedly led the company to delay operations to January 2022.

Update: Automobilwoche said Elon Musk officially gave his team half a year more time to get Giga Grünheide to start its operations. Tesla has not officially changed its plans so far. The article has been corrected to reflect that.

Automobilwoche would have heard from Tesla sources that Elon Musk officially gave the team six more months to start operations there. Apart from the bureaucratic hell the company is facing to get a final building permit – a requirement for production there to start – it also needs the 4680 batteries to be ready. At the Q1 2021 earnings call, Elon Musk said it could take up to 18 months for that to happen.

Tesla Giga Berlin (Gigafactory 4) - Model Y Factory Construction (Tesla Q1 2021 report)

As the German publication puts it, it seems the company will reportedly have issues making the 4680 cells at Giga Grünheide. It even states that “the body shop, stamping, and paint shop are already well advanced.” However, the issue is with cell production itself. What Tesla presented at the Tesla Battery Day was still a prototype, and the final production version of that cell is yet to be presented.

Although Musk said that Tesla “ordered most of the equipment for battery production” for Grünheide and Austin already, the company has not asked for building permission for a battery factory in its German site yet. Considering how much time it takes for German authorities to approve that, Giga Grünheide does not count on its own production capacity to deliver its first cars. The 4680 cells it will use will initially come from Fremont when they are ready.

At the Q1 2021 earnings call, Musk said he expected to have these cells “next year,” which might be around May 2022 considering Musk’s own estimates. He said that they are “about 12 – probably not more than 18 months away from volume production of the 4680.” That may also affect future vehicles that rely on that cell, such as the Cybertruck, Semi, and Model S Plaid+.

If the Model Y made in Germany did not use the 4680 cells and the structural battery pack Musk promised at Tesla Battery Day, production at Giga Grünheide would still not happen in July due to the bureaucracy involved in getting the factory ready. Making Giga Grünheide a testbed for new tech will apparently delay that even more.

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