How often does Teslas break down
Infrastructure minister about the Tesla plant : "The traffic around the Gigafactory does not collapse"
In Grünheide, construction is going on at giga-speed and he has to regulate traffic: Guido Beermann, 55, CDU member, has been Minister for Infrastructure and State Planning since November 2019. He is responsible for ensuring that Tesla's new factory is integrated into Brandenburg's local and long-distance transport.
Beermann was State Secretary for Economic Affairs in Berlin until 2015, and was State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport until he moved to Brandenburg in 2019. In an interview with Tagesspiegel, the CDU politician talks about a possible traffic blackout for the region around Grünheide, his confidence in the region and the longest pedestrian tunnel in Brandenburg.
When was the last time you were on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory?
In summer. Most recently, I recently looked at the nearby Fangschleuse train station, which is quite crucial for connecting the factory. Of course, I drive past the construction site more often when I'm in the country. The speed at which one of the most important settlements for Germany is being implemented there is breathtaking.
The adaptation of the infrastructure takes place much more slowly. Is there a risk of traffic collapse at the start of summer 2021?
The traffic around the Gigafactory will not collapse, neither at the beginning nor later. I think the worries are exaggerated.
It's about 12,000 employees, 1,200 trucks a day. Why are you so relaxed?
Sometimes it takes a back seat: the Gigafactory site already has excellent connections, directly on the autobahn, with the nearby east-west rail connection Berlin-Frankfurt (Oder) -Poland. When the area was designated as an industrial area, it was already intended for an automobile factory. But it is clear that the connection to road and rail must be adapted, in the short term, and then in the medium term parallel to the growth of the factory. And that is being done, we are working flat out, in exchange with Tesla and everyone involved.
What happens immediately
For the Gigafactory, there will be a better connection to the motorway in the short term, with a new temporary driveway that will be built from January in good time before the start: the motorway access will work. The rest of the road network in the plant is a matter for Tesla.
Is it true that the concrete crab renovation is running parallel to the start on the Berliner Ring between Freienbrink and Erkner?
Yes it is. This section will be renovated in 2021.
Oh God, can you still sleep peacefully?
We didn't choose the concrete cancer finding. This renovation is necessary. It is better for the Gigafactory to do that as soon as possible, too. Because the first car will not be screwed together by 12,000 employees in mid-2021. It will take a while for production to start up. That's why we didn't try to push this section back two or three years: we're going to do it now.
Several thousand people will soon have to go to work in Grünheide, every second from Berlin. How do Tesla employees get to the plant?
We mainly rely on local public transport. Regional Express 1 will play a key role and has stopped at the Fangschleuse station every half an hour since last weekend, no longer just once an hour.
But the train station is two or three kilometers from the Tesla site.
Tesla will certainly set up a bus shuttle between the Fangschleuse train station and the plant. Buses will also run to the Gigafactory from Erkner station, where S-Bahn trains arrive. You can't just look at it one-dimensionally, it always comes down to a mix. One can equalize traffic flows, for example by arranging the shift changes so that they do not coincide with the normal rush hour. You can take the existing traffic load into account. Intelligent solutions are required here.
Erkner is already closed at peak times.
It is true that Erkner already has a bad traffic situation today. We keep an eye on that and keep an eye on it. I am counting on the RE1 to absorb a lot so that it is balanced. There are considerations to build a bicycle route from Erkner to the Gigafactory. This is also one of Tesla's wishes, and we support it. A working group led by the Oder-Spree district is working on the bicycle traffic concept.
Tesla wants to grow quickly in Grünheide, Elon Musk has announced the world's largest battery cell factory. How do you want to keep up with the traffic?
The basic concept stands with the decision of the changed development plan by the municipality. This is an important prerequisite for adapting the transport links to the requirements of the next few decades, to the final expansion stage, where perhaps around 40,000 people will one day work here.
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The development plan is based on this final scenario. We can't readjust the road and rail every couple of years. After all, it's about a dimension like Ingolstadt or Sindelfingen. I would like to remind you that the project was only launched a year ago.
What is specifically planned?
With the B-Plan there is planning right for the expansion of the L38, the current access, but also for the planned new state road L383 in the north parallel to the rails, which is required for the ring closure around the plant. This in turn is related to the planned new regular motorway exit. The application for this was submitted to the Federal Ministry of Transport on November 30th. However, a plan approval procedure is necessary for this.
Would it make sense to expand the Berliner Ring straight away, eight-lane, ten-lane?
He already has six lanes. Of course, in connection with the new junction, we are looking into what expansion of the A10 is necessary here.
What's next on the rails?
Priority has been given to relocating the Fangschleuse train station, which is moving about one and a half kilometers to the west, right up to the future main entrance to the factory premises. This can be pushed further with the B-Plan.
When will the station be relocated?
A date cannot yet be reliably said because extensive planning is necessary. The railway subsidiary Station & Services has been commissioned to do this, and the concept is currently being drawn up. It is a concerted action.
The largest pedestrian tunnel in Brandenburg is being planned, 60 meters long and 25 meters wide, as your State Secretary Rainer Genilke recently said in the state parliament.
It is obvious that the new station must also be geared towards the final expansion. People have to go over to the plant. It is good to do it vividly, to give an insight into the workshop. But it's not just about the train station, but also about transfer tracks for freight trains, as Tesla wants to handle a significant part of its transports by rail. It's all really very complex, very complicated. The point is to plan the connection of the Gigafactory from a single source. We do not yet know whether there may be intermediate stages. However, we will not pass a tunnel that will cross under all future tracks.
Tesla wants to run a shuttle train from Erkner to the plant. Does this work?
This consideration is in the room, to have an Erkner shuttle drive on the rail over the existing track directly to the factory premises, directed by Tesla. I know that Tesla is holding talks with Deutsche Bahn to clarify this.
From January 1, 2021, the federal government will be responsible for the autobahns, with a new company to which Brandenburg's Road Administration will transfer personnel. Are there now threatening bottlenecks in planning for the Tesla environment, yes for the country?
No, although as an infrastructure minister you can never have enough money and staff (laughs). Despite the difficult budget situation in the Corona crisis, we succeeded in maintaining and adding to the capacities of the state operations. If necessary, we also buy services and commission offices.
Do other regions have to worry that the state company is now tied to the entire Tesla environment?
No. We have the whole country in focus. I mean the Ministry, the State Office and the State Office. We are not only concerned with the Tesla environment or the structural change in Lusatia, where the discussion is being conducted in a similar way, but with all regions.
The Gigafactory will change the entire region. How is it ensured that there is no wild growth and thus frustration?
We cannot and do not want to leave everything to run itself, on the contrary: Together with 22 cities and municipalities all around, with the districts, but also with the Berlin district of Treptow-Köpenick, we have set out to work out an environment development concept. The draft should be available in March 2021. Data is currently being compiled and reports are being drawn up. The specification is processed well.
Nevertheless, Oder-Spree District Administrator Rolf Lindemann regularly calls for greater commitment and speed in the country.
It is important that concerns are articulated. We are taking this up, and of course we are in close contact with the district administrator.
The district expects massive influx in the wake of the Gigafactory. Where are people supposed to go?
In Germany we have excellent experience with the principle of subsidiarity, according to which problems are tackled as far as possible from the level that is closest. And these are the municipalities that know the local potential best, that decide for themselves how they want to develop.
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This is not about pushing away responsibility. It is a misconception that one should suddenly approach this in a centralized manner in the environment of a gigafactory. That has little to do with the reality of life, with the constitution of our society. The country is challenged to set the framework. And we do.
It is the largest settlement in East Germany since 1990. Does the state development plan for the capital region have to be adapted because of the Gigafactory?
I don't see that at the moment. In the regional area around the Gigafabrik there is sufficient potential for new apartments, within the framework of the previous zoning plans and the state development plan.
What is this finding based on?
The experts at my company have analyzed and classified this in very small parts for all locations and checked it with the building authorities: In the locations in the region between Treptow-Köpenick and Frankfurt (Oder) - i.e. in the catchment area of the factory - there is 600 hectares of short-term buildable residential space, a potential for 29,000 new residential units, from single-family houses to multi-storey apartment buildings. This is not a wish-you-what, but the reality.
Which churches are growing rapidly?
How this is distributed remains to be seen. On the one hand this is in the sovereignty of the municipalities. On the other hand, in the end people still decide for themselves where they want to live. You can't force anyone to move anywhere.
In East Brandenburg, there is no need to plan large-scale new residential areas immediately?
No, actionism is out of place. It can all grow. Many people from the region will certainly work in the Tesla factory. According to our analyzes, around 50 percent of the people who will work at Tesla will come from the existing regional labor market. Those who come from Berlin-Schöneberg, Wriezen or Frankfurt (Oder) don't need a new apartment, they tend not to move. Long-distance commuters are also not uncommon in the automotive industry.
Where else does Tesla have to do homework?
It is important that Tesla tells us in real time how the plant is actually set up. This is necessary in order to make decisions about how to actually plan the infrastructure. It is important to keep in constant touch. We have also created functioning structures for this.
You are Minister of Transport. When does the vehicle fleet in your area run electrically?
The acquisition of company cars in Brandenburg is currently managed centrally. But here, too, the path points in the direction of e-mobility. After all, I already drive a hybrid as a company car, my next car is fully electric.
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