Tesla’s German factory will fuel competition, VW’s Diess says

Europe

FRANKFURT — The planned opening of Tesla’s first gigafactory in Europe later this year will force local industry to step up its game, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said.

Diess’ comments, made on Twitter, come as Tesla continues work on its plant in Gruenheide, near Berlin, as it awaits final building approval for the 5.8 billion euro ($6.8 billion) site.

“Efficiency is key for the transformation of our industry/Germany. Tesla develops in shorter processes, works closer with the best in the industry and takes more risk,” said Diess, who is a known admirer of the electric car pioneer led by Elon Musk.

Volkswagen aims to overtake Tesla as the world’s top seller of electric cars by 2025, a claim that is underscored by an ambitious plan to build six large battery factories in Europe by 2030.

“Gruenheide will increase competition in Germany — also with Wolfsburg,” Diess said.

Tesla is hosting a public tour of the Gruenheide plant on Oct. 9, days before the final consultation for objections to its construction closes. Musk has confirmed he will attend the event, dubbed the “Giga-fest,” in person.

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