While Tesla’s construction of its Berlin Gigafactory continues in Grünheide, the US carmaker continues to receive billions in funding from the German government, and production of the Model Y is estimated to start in June.
However, it’s been reported that the auto manufacturer needs to hire quite a few people but is struggling to find top talent. A lot of the open positions require years of professional experience and Tesla currently has 350 vacancies to fill in manufacturing and battery cell production.
Although Giga Berlin is pegged to be the world's largest battery cell factory, one of the senior positions in battery cell production is yet to be filled. The role requires 15 years of experience, which would come with a salary of $357,000 excluding bonus payments. Tesla has advertised several positions in chemical battery production as well as for the management of battery module production and maintenance of battery cell production.
The obstacle for Tesla is that skilled workers for battery cell production in Germany are quite scarce. Most battery production has been focused in Asia. Tesla is not the only one building battery plants in the region. Volkswagen is planning a battery cell plant in Salzgitter, Opel is building a factory in Kaiserslautern, and Chinese suppliers are planning to setup up production facilities in Saarland and Erfurt. This makes the market competitive, so Tesla will have to make compelling job offers to snag the best.
Volkswagen is putting down speed to catch up to Tesla and this week, the German auto manufacturer announced its plans to establish six “Giga Factories” in Europe within the decade. The company also plans to expand its charging infrastructure across Europe, North America and China.
Herman Diess, VW CEO said this week that in the next 15 years electric vehicles are going to see a massive increase and software will evolve significantly. He also predicted that EVs would become autonomous within the same timeframe. So, he seems to share the self-driving vision that Tesla’s Technoking also has.
Diess also said the EV “is open – this is not the industry which you can conquer within a few years or so, this is not tech. So, you need life cycles, you need product, you need plant capacities, you need market, you need to earn the trust of the customer. On Tesla, he added, “So this is a long run and yes, there are a few startups which we are watching closely and Tesla for sure is … in the lead in some aspects there. But we are not so far behind and we are gaining momentum.”
The German CEO also took the opportunity to squash rumors of VW joining forces with Tesla. He was asked if there would ever be a future deal with the US manufacturer, and he was clear on his stance:
“No, we haven’t considered (that), we are going our own way. We want to get close and then overtake. We think that we can – we need our own software stack, our own technology. And also, I think Tesla, or Elon, is very much thinking ... (about) his way forward. So no, there are no talks between Elon Musk and myself regarding joining forces.”
What is clear is that Diess and Musk both have their own strategies. It would be surprising if Tesla ever considered partnering with another manufacturer anyway as the company has had great plans for the future and will want to independently innovate as the industry grows.