Elon Musk is definitely an atypical CEO.
The charismatic CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report and SpaceX has managed over the years to build a reputation that goes far beyond business circles, Silicon Valley and the automotive and space industries.
It has forced legacy automakers to develop electric vehicles deemed to be environmentally friendly. Above all, it has shaken up the decorum of the C-Suites. Musk is one of the few CEOs to have, for example, publicly smoked marijuana and admitted weaknesses when Tesla was struggling to manage production rate increases for the Model 3, its entry-level vehicle.
This iconoclastic side contributed to write its legend and to make it popular. For example, he has nearly 80 million followers on Twitter, more than many rock stars and athletes. LeBron James, the NBA star has only 51 million followers, for example.
In his panoply of unique things, the billionaire inaugurated his Berlin ‘gigafactory’ by showing his dance moves. He had done it in Shanghai in January 2020 in front of an amused, surprised and delighted audience. At this event, Musk surprised everyone by entertaining the Giga Shanghai audience with an impromptu number.
He has just revived this personal tradition. By inaugurating the Berlin Gigafactory on Tuesday, Musk once again took his audience off guard by starting to dance.
According to various videos of the ceremony broadcast on social networks, we can see the entrepreneur in a suit and tie letting go to the rhythm of the music. He shakes hands, makes small jumps under the applause of Tesla employees, customers to take delivery of the first cars produced in this factory and also German authorities including Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Economics Minister Robert Habeck.
We see Musk dancing to the music selected by each of the thirty customers to whom he delivered his own Made in Germany Model Y SUV. Musk seems enthusiastic and in a very good mood.
“This is a great day for the factory,” Musk said in English. This “will be another step in the direction of sustainable energy future.”
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On his Twitter account, he wanted to thank Germany in German.
“Thank You Germany!!!” Musk wrote surrounding his message with two German flags on the left and on the right
A Huge Relief for Tesla
The billionaire’s joy is mostly relief.
The opening near Berlin of Tesla’s first European “gigafactory” was announced with great fanfare in November 2019. It marked a turning point for the automotive industry in Germany with the arrival in the country of Volkswagen (VWAGY) – Get Volkswagen AG Report and Mercedes (DDAIF) of their main rival in the race for the electric car.
“Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure. That’s part of the reason why we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design center in Berlin, because Berlin has some of the best art in the world,” Musk explained at the time.
The inauguration of the factory, which is in Grünheide, a coal town in Brandenburg, Germany, within commuting distance of the capital, puts an end to an administrative and legal soap opera that delayed the event, initially scheduled for the summer of 2021. Fears about the plant’s ecological impact on the region, particularly in terms of water resources, have considerably slowed down the project.
From demonstrations to legal actions and open letters, local residents have exhausted all remedies, supported by environmental defense associations. The official approval of the regional authorities, essential for the start of production, was only issued at the beginning of March.
The facility covers 300 hectares and will also house a battery factory in the near future. Eventually, 500,000 vehicles – the Tesla Model Y, 100% electric SUVs – should roll off the lines each year.
Nearly 3,000 people already work on the site, but Tesla promises to “recruit thousands of new employees in the coming months”, to exceed the 12,000 mark.
Prior to this plant, Tesla served the European market with vehicles produced at its Shanghai plant. The automotive group is to officially open its fourth vehicle manufacturing plant in April in Austin, Texas.
The stated objective is to meet demand, which currently exceeds supply. After producing nearly 1 million vehicles in 2021, Tesla is expected to manufacture just over 1.42 million units in 2022, according to analysts.