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特斯拉为何将下一座超级工厂落户柏林

Christiaan Hetzner 2019年11月18日

爱出风头的埃隆·马斯克天生就善于把握时机,他把最新的重大消息留给了德国汽车行业也许是最负盛名的庆典。

爱出风头的埃隆·马斯克天生就善于把握时机,他把最新的重大消息留给了德国汽车行业也许是最负盛名的庆典。

11月12日,在柏林举行的金方向盘奖(Golden Steering Wheel)颁奖典礼上,德国顶尖企业高管云集,马斯克透露说他期待已久的欧洲超级工厂(European Gigafactory)将落户柏林,同时还将在当地建立研发中心。

梅赛德斯-奔驰等汽车厂商正想方设法在欧洲实施碳排放限制政策前降低自家产品的排放水平,同时,它们又要面临新的压力,而且这股压力还是来自一家在电动化方面遥遥领先并通过创新来改变汽车行业的公司。投资者赋予特斯拉的市值已经超过了宝马,看来是已经认可了这一点。但整体而言,特斯拉在德国的销量仅占整个德国市场的0.3%。

分析师指出,要想在欧洲取得长期成功,特斯拉就必须扩大在德国的市场份额。

盖斯林根市汽车行业研究机构IfA的主管斯特凡·赖因德尔告诉《财富》杂志:“马斯克想传递的信息是他在德国这个欧洲最大市场能顶的住(国内竞争)。虽然他确实无法违背德国汽车行业的规律,比如高工资和能源成本,但这仍然是一个非常大胆而且具有标志性的决定。”

Model Y,然后是Model 3

上述消息公布后不久,马斯克就在推特上说柏林工厂“将制造电池、动力总成和整车,而且将从Model Y(中型跨界车)开始。”随后计划生产的是和Model Y非常接近的Model 3。

11月13日上午开盘一小时后,特斯拉的股价上涨了0.8%。而大众、戴姆勒和宝马在德国股市的最后一小时交易中均告下跌。

特斯拉的超级工厂将设在靠近柏林的勃兰登堡州,毗邻在建的柏林勃兰登堡机场。它将使用可再生能源电力,包括风能、太阳能等,以确保自身的经营活动不会产生碳排放。当地政府打算将Grünheide一块面积300公顷的土地卖给特斯拉。差不多20年前宝马决定不在此处投资建厂后,这块地就一直处于荒弃状态。消息人士称,特斯拉超级工厂一期扩建后有望直接创造3500个就业机会。

“贫穷但性感”

用受欢迎的前市长克劳斯·沃维莱特的话说,“贫穷但性感”的柏林以在德国引领潮流而著称。柏林拥有充满活力的移动初创行业和很高的技术水平,它的波西米亚氛围还吸引着有创造力的年轻人,因此很契合特斯拉的形象。

对打算吸引大公司以及未来行业的柏林来说,这也将是一大成就。

IfA的主管赖因德尔说:“把厂址选在柏林/勃兰登堡州,可以让马斯克区别于德国的那些老牌竞争对手。特斯拉设立超级工厂的决定有望打消外界对电动汽车前景的疑虑,提升人们对此项技术的信心,对德国车企的消费者及其员工来说都是如此。由此出现的拉动效应甚至可能对德国汽车行业产生有利影响。”

马斯克挑选的时机也很好,因为本月初公布的行业数据显示,今年第三季度德国超过了挪威,首次成为欧洲最大的电池电动汽车市场。

但不看好特斯拉的人士警告说,马斯克的计划也给当地带来了风险。特斯拉设在美国布法罗的2号超级工厂主要生产太阳能面板,已经获得纽约州7.5亿美元资助,但到目前为止一直问题不断。《财富》杂志联系了勃兰登堡州政府,想询问是否为特斯拉提供了补贴或税收减免,但还没有州政府官员对此发表评论。

在德国设厂后,马斯克甚至可以加入排外而又有影响力的德国汽车工业协会(VDA),后者由德国国内汽车厂商和供应商组成,而且多年来一直在按照自己的意愿左右着德国政府的政策。最近,该机构推动政府拿出了更多的纳税人资金,目的是在2025年之前扩建充电基础设施,以便为普及电动汽车清理障碍。

德国汽车工业协会的总裁伯恩哈德·马特斯在声明中表示:“接纳特斯拉可以强化德国的汽车中心地位,因此德国汽车工业协会欢迎此项决定。”但他还说,“前提是该工厂能够在几年内竣工”。

不过,有赢家,就不可避免地会有输家。

11月12日接受本次庆典组织方、英国传媒合作伙伴《Auto Expresson》杂志采访时,马斯克解释说没有考虑英国的原因是英国正在脱欧。

他对该杂志表示:“脱欧让在英国建立超级工厂变得风险过大。”下个月英国将举行大选,外界将此视为第二次脱欧公投的“替身”。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Ever the showman with a gift for picking backdrops with maximum effect, Elon Musk saved up his latest big announcement for perhaps the most prestigious red-carpet event the German auto industry knows.

At the annual Golden Steering Wheel awards in Berlin on November 12, surrounded by top executives from around the country, the Tesla CEO divulged that his much anticipated European Gigafactory would be coming to the German capital, together with a research and development center.

Just as carmakers like Mercedes-Benz struggle to decarbonize their fleets ahead of Europe’s impending CO2 caps, they now face renewed pressure from a company with a substantial headstart in electrification, an innovation that’s transforming the automotive sector. Investors have rewarded this, giving Tesla a bigger market cap than BMW, for example. But zoom out, and Tesla holds just a 0.3 percent overall market share of all autos sold in Germany.

For Tesla to be successful in Europe longterm, the carmaker must increase its marketshare in Germany, analysts say.

“Musk wants to signal that he can take on the (domestic competition) in the largest market in Europe," Stefan Reindl, Director of the IfA institute for automotive industry in Geislingen, told Fortune. “While it’s true that he will not be able to defy the domestic industry’s laws of physics, such as the high-wage and energy costs, it is nonetheless a very bold and symbolic decision.”

Model Y, then the Model 3

Sharing the news with the rest of the world a short time later, Musk tweeted the company “will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with the Model Y (midsize crossover).” The Model 3, a nearly identical sedan, is scheduled to follow.

Tesla shares were up 0.8% an hour into the trading day on November 13. Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, meanwhile, were all lower going into the final hour of the trading day in Germany.

The Gigafactory will be situated close to the new BER airport under construction in nearby Brandenburg and will be fed with renewable energy from a combination of wind, solar and other sources to ensure it operates without leaving behind a carbon footprint. The 300-hectare property in Grünheide that the regional government plans to sell to Tesla has been barren ever since BMW decided nearly 20 years ago not to invest in a site there. Sources say up to 3,500 jobs could be created directly at the factory in a first stage of expansion.

“Poor but sexy”

“Poor but sexy”—in the words of popular former mayor Klaus Wowereit, Berlin is known for setting trends in the country. It has a lively mobility startup scene, is tech-savvy and attracts young, creative minds due to its Bohemian flair, so it is a good fit for Tesla’s image.

For Germany’s capital, it would be a coup as Berlin looks to attract major employers and the industries of the future.

“With Berlin/Brandenburg as the site he differentiates himself from the established competitors in Germany,” noted IfA’s Reindl. “The Tesla Gigafactory decision could serve to eliminate doubts about the future of electric vehicles and boost confidence in the technology, both among the customers of German carmakers as well their own employees. The resulting pull effect could even have a positive effect on the German auto industry.”

The timing is auspicious as industry statistics published earlier this month showed Germany eclipsed Norway during the third quarter as Europe’s largest BEV (battery electric vehicle) market for the first time.

But Tesla bears warned Musk’s plans pose risks for the region as well. His Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, which focuses on solar panels, received $750 million in aid from New York State, but so far has been beset by problems. Fortune contacted the Brandenburg state government to ask about whether subsidies or tax breaks were involved. Officials were not immediately available for comment.

With a plant in Germany, Musk would even be able to join Germany’s clubby VDA, the influential industry association for domestic carmakers and suppliers that for years has shaped government policy to its liking. Most recently it helped to free up additional taxpayer funds to pay for an expansion of charging infrastructure through 2025 to reduce barriers to EV adoption.

“Situating Tesla here strengthens Germany as an automotive center, so the VDA welcomes the decision,” said its president, Bernhard Mattes, in a statement, before adding “should the plans be implemented in a few years time.”

But where there are winners, there are invariably losers.

Speaking to the ceremony organizer’s British partner publication Auto Expresson on November 12, Musk explained that the UK’s planned exit from the European Union disqualified it from his search.

“Brexit made it too risky to put a Gigafactory in the UK,” he told the publication as Britons prepare to go to the polls next month in what is seen as a proxy second referendum.

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