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Tesla Withdraws From State Aid for German Battery Plant

Tesla has backed out of state aid for its new battery plant in Berlin after CEO Elon Musk took issue with subsidies. Credit: Kevauto, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tesla announced on Friday that it has backed out of its attempt to get state aid for a forthcoming battery factory outside of Berlin. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, said that the move is part of the corporation’s larger turn away from government subsidies.

The European Union gave Tesla the green light in January, approving the electric car company’s proposals for state aid, as well as BMW and fellow companies interested in producing electric car batteries. The EU is hoping to support the manufacture of such batteries within the continent so as to decrease reliance on imports from China.

The bloc had planned to give Tesla 1.14 billion euros ($1.28 billion) to launch its plant in Gruenheide, Brandenburg, with the final approval expected at the end of 2021.

“Tesla has informed the Federal Ministry of Economics and the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics… it is withdrawing its IPCEI application for state funding for the battery factory in Grünheide,” a spokesperson for the company said, speaking about the ‘Important Projects of Common European Interest,” under which funding for electric vehicles is covered.

“It has always been Tesla’s view that all subsidies should be eliminated,” Musk tweeted to another user inquiring about the axed plan.

US investigating Tesla’s self-driving cars

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started investigating a consumer report earlier this month that indicates Tesla’s Model Y self-driving cars may be causing accidents.

A Tesla Model Y owner made a report with NHTSA on November 3 stating that the car started to drive recklessly while using its autopilot technology:

“While taking a left turn the car went into the wrong lane and I was hit by another driver in the lane next to my lane,” the owner added that the vehicle “gave an alert halfway through the turn” and that the owner attempted to interfere with the autopilot “but the car by itself took control and forced itself into the incorrect lane,” causing the car to crash and take damage.

“NHTSA is aware of the consumer complaint in question and is in communication with the manufacturer to gather additional information,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement last week.

The technology used in the Tesla Model Y is the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software. Although the feature’s name contains the phrase “full self-driving,” Tesla has clarified that the technology is meant to only partially assist a driver and that the technology should be monitored by a “fully attentive driver.”

The company recalled over 10,000 of its vehicles this month due to a glitch in the software that could lead to miscommunications in the FSD Beta mode and potential accidents. The company later announced that 99.8% of the cars have been updated to amend this problem.

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