Tesla Says Plans to Expand Berlin Manufacturing Plant Approved

Fri May 17 2024
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BERLIN, Germany: Tesla said on Thursday that its plans to expand a manufacturing plant outside Berlin had been approved, overcoming opposition from residents and environmental activists.

The American electric car maker said it was “extremely pleased” that local officials in the town of Gruenheide, where the factory is located, voted to approve the extension.

Tesla opened the plant – its only production site in Europe – in 2022 at the end of a tumultuous two-year approval and construction process.

The automaker had to clear a number of administrative and legal hurdles before starting production on site, including complaints from local residents about the plant’s environmental impact.

In 2023, plans were announced to double capacity to produce a million cars a year at the site, which employs around 12,000 people.

The plant, which already occupies approximately 300 hectares (740 acres), was to be expanded by another 170 hectares.

However, Tesla had to scale back its ambitions to expand the already massive site after local residents opposed the plan in a non-binding survey.

Among their concerns were the deforestation necessary for the expansion, the power plant’s high water consumption and the increase in road traffic in the area.

In the new proposal, Tesla scrapped plans for logistics and warehousing centers and staff facilities on the site, leaving much of the surrounding forest intact.

Thursday’s council vote in Gruenheide attracted a lot of interest from residents and was demonstrated by protestors against the extension, according to German media.

Protests against the plant have intensified since February, and in March the plant was forced to halt production after a suspected arson attack on nearby power lines claimed by a far-left group.

Activists have also built temporary treehouses in the woods around the plant to prevent expansion, and environmentalists gathered in the hundreds at the plant earlier this month to protest expansion plans.

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