17. November 2019 by Alex Voigt
When people ask me how it is possible that most of my predictions about Tesla are correct, my answer is, “These are not my predictions. You just have to listen carefully to Elon Musk and do it twice, better hits. “Elon tells the truth unless he jokes and he likes to joke, but not if it's about his mission to change the world for sustainable transport.  In this connection, Elon said many times that he preferred the place for Gigafactory in Europe to be in Germany. We now know that it is in Brandenburg, which is the state or county (Bundesland) that surrounds Berlin.
IG ♥ ️💛 GIGA BERLIN 💛 ♥ ️🖤
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 12, 2019  Berlin and Brandenburg are two separate German counties that you can to some extent compare to states in the United States. Each of them has duties, obligations and rights, and one of those rights is to make decisions about the industries that apply for a website.
In other words, although most people in the future will talk about Berlin as the site of Gigafactory 4 (GF4), do not be surprised when Germans call it Brandenburg. In fact, it is still part of the city of Berlin where the Berlin Wall once stood (of which President Trump last week refused to take a piece as a gift, for obvious reasons).
To understand Berlin, you have to understand a bit of our history (yes, I am a proud German). We are home to what was the capital of Prussia back in the 18th century, known for outstanding reforms, innovation, culture, science and wars. Actually, a relative of mine was the master of the coin for the famous king "der alte Fritz" Friedrich I, but it is a story that should be told at another time.
Due to smart politicians and wars in the 18th century, Berlin did very well and grew in population as well as influence to become one of the most important cities in Europe. WWI caused the German Kaiser to withdraw, which was a dramatic shift for Germany, and WWII was an even more dramatic time for Berlin, which was cut in two pieces by the war and the wall and isolated from West Germany as well as the country as surround it. , Brandenburg. With that, Berlin lost all the industries that supply it. Without support from the United States and Kennedy's famous phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berlin"), which until today built a strong bond between Berlin and the United States, Stalin probably would have achieved West Berlin as well and changed the story significantly as a result.
The enclave behind the Iron Curtain named Berlin has for a generation been a peculiarly artificial place, kept alive with the money and support of the rich West Germany. Most people do not know that, as a German man, you could escape compulsory military service in West Germany by moving to West Berlin, and after a few years of hanging up, your duty was abolished. At that time, many more men than women lived in the city, which had no real industry left and was no longer a capital since that title moved to Bonn for political and military reasons.
In 1989, a new change occurred when the wall came down and an artificially kept life in the city with DNA you can't find anywhere else opened its doors to the world and regains its title as the capital. It has attracted all kinds of creative people since it has been a hugely inspiring place, like a time capsule that got artists like David Bowie and many others to work and live in another world. This explosion of inspiration led to a city that is rightly called creative, backed by low housing, apartments and living costs simply because of the fact that well-paid industrial jobs did not really exist. Berlin has been a cheap place to stay for decades, only with incentives from counties like Bavaria (and others).
A former mayor once called it "bad but sexy." It remained so for another generation, and besides being seen as the most famous city in Germany, for Germans, it has been a poor city with a eastern atmosphere. Creative people with less money moved there, and a startup scene developed in retail and software, especially known for some success stories, such as Zalando, a now major fashion retailer.
This whole story is important to understand why the chosen GF4 placement fits Tesla perfectly, a fit that can be explained in just a few categories.
Labor: comparatively cheap and accessible
Berlin has a well-educated, young, eager and motivated population who love the United States for historical reasons (not really the current administration, I'm afraid). And with the low cost of living, wages are higher than in other European countries, but lower compared to all other major cities in Germany, such as Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and others. With a fairly high unemployment rate, it will also be easier for Tesla to hire well-educated people in Berlin and Brandenburg who are willing to go the extra mile to get a job done.
Land: lower costs and incentives
Brandenburg is a large, flat county with plenty of free space that it will gladly provide to innovative companies like Tesla. It is rumored that subsidies and incentives will be paid out by Brandenburg and / or Berlin, and it is no surprise. Right now, the roughly € 100 million figure is shared, which is a fairly common business between a business partner and government that you can summarize in the phrase "money for jobs." It's nothing unusual considering the promise for Berlin in terms of attraction and reputation, it is good business.
Logistics: New Infrastructure and Europe Center
If you take a map and see where Berlin is, you will realize that it is perfectly located (with the shortest distance) between eastern and western countries. Air, land and road transport are perfectly supported with the new (while not yet completed) Berlin airport, a nearby Autobahn, as well as train tracks and waterways with ports. Logistically, it can be considered as the best location you can imagine.
Supplier: strong supplier base nearby
After the wall was built in 1989, car companies such as Porsche and VW started to build factories south of Berlin (eg in Leipzig, Saxony), which attracted many suppliers and an ecosystem in the industry. Tesla will take advantage of the world-famous German design and the reputation of "Made in Germany".
Energy: ensuring renewable energy for production
During 5 to 6 months of negotiations, the Tesla team had discussions with Brandenburg's politicians (they have been the ones to approve the partnership, not Berlin), one of the key elements in favor for the site has been to ensure efficient renewable energy for production. That alone tells you a lot, that this company wants to build a better future. Other places are excluded because they could not guarantee that demand.
Politics: near the center of government
It is a clear advantage to be very close to the Berlin government, where important decisions about the automotive industry are influenced and taken. Tesla, the only car company in town, has a real pole position to impress politicians with their cars, technology, innovation and atmosphere. Most German politicians have not been in a Tesla vehicle yet, changing the mindset in milliseconds. Furthermore, we know that having a plant tour in a Gigafactory has a fundamental impact on you as a person and your thoughts as a human being on electromobility and Tesla's culture. These trips and test runs will be instrumental in making decisions in the German parliament.
Culture: Berlin will really welcome Tesla
. Berlin would not exist as the city it is today without the support, friendship and strong influence of the United States, without President Kennedy organizing supplies for West Berlin and undermining the blockade from the Soviet Union trying to capture Berlin. It also had the benefit of George H.W. Bush, with his friendship with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, is an important element of the confidence needed to reunite Germany as a nation.
History: reputation for building great cars
German engineers are called the best in the world, and with Tesla Grohmann Automation (formerly Grohmann Engineering), a company purchased as a specialist in the automotive industry that has reportedly done a fantastic job with Tesla battery pack production, Elon quickly learned that German engineers can make an important difference to the future of his mission. His brief presence on TV last week, which I saw in my Model 3 while Supercharging, already had an extremely positive impact on his reputation here since he called German engineering the best.
Narrative: shifting to trust, belief and certainty
In the United States as well as in many other countries in the world, Tesla's fear, uncertainty and doubt (RD&D) can be spread by the media as well as so-called experts and analysts are called one of the the biggest misinformation campaigns in the world, and it has had and continues to have a huge negative impact on what Germans think and know about Tesla and the cars. The second largest advertising industry in Germany is the automotive industry, and Tesla has so far not paid a penny. Being located in Germany means 7,000 to 10,000 people who want to get a job. The 7,000 to 10,000 families make an average of 34,000 people talk positively about their employer, who pays for their livelihoods each month. This network will have a very positive impact on the Tesla story and correct erroneously misleading information.
To conclude, as a German engineer, I am extremely pleased to see Tesla build its Gigafactory in a place that gives the company the best of all worlds, occupying Europe right from the heart of the car.
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Alex Voigt Alex Voigt has been a supporter of the mission to transform the world into sustainable carbon-free energy for 40 years. As an engineer, he is fascinated by man's ability to develop a better future through the use of technology. With 30 years of experience in the stock market, he is invested in Tesla [TSLA] as well as some other technology companies, in the long term.