- It’s a measure of how far construction has progressed at the Berlin Gigafactory 4 site (pictured above) that construction workers have found unexploded bombs on the site.
- Locating unexploded bombs from past wars is not unusual in Germany, apparently, as it happened in Cologne this week as well; experts will safely explode them.
- The Gigafactory 4 will start building the Model 3 and Y at some point in 2021.
Tesla has been moving ahead swiftly with plans to open Gigafactory 4 in the Berlin area, where it plans to build the Model 3 and the future Model Y for the Europe market. It wouldn’t be terribly shocking, given the history of that part of Europe, if artifacts from World War II were to be found on the property.
That’s what happened to Tesla this week, when workers who were clearing the site (shown above, when the project was announced in November 2019) uncovered seven unexploded bombs left over from the 1940s. According to the Associated Press, the bombs are unexploded ordnance (UXO) the U.S. dropped on the area during World War II. The find could add up to nearly 200 pounds of ammunition and 25 unexploded bombs, the AP said, citing local media.
UXO is regularly found in Germany and other former war zones. In 2016, Smithsonian magazine reported that more than 2000 tons of UXO are removed from German soil every year. As if to prove that Tesla is not in any way unique here, an 1100-pound bomb was found in Cologne just this week.
The first bombs discovered on the land that will make up the new Gigafactory each weigh 110 pounds, and the plan is to have explosives experts deal with them by exploding them safely in the near future. People on the scene told local media it’s possible more could be found as more land is cleared.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in November that Tesla will build its first European factory in Grünheide, Germany, outside Berlin, and that the facility will include a nearby engineering and design center. While Tesla’s new Shanghai Gigafactory went from ground-breaking to a production-ready state in just 10 months, it looks like the European factory may need a bit more time to get up and running. The ground-clearing work is happening now, and in Tesla’s report to investors for the third quarter of 2019, the company said it expects to start production of both the Model 3 and Model Y at the European factory sometime in 2021. The European factory’s annual capacity is expected to start at 150,000 and grow to 500,000.