Tesla's German plant production plan hits a stumbling block. Here's why

The progress of Tesla's Berlin Gigfactory hasnot been smooth given the fact that it has been struggling with lawsuits from environmental groups concerned about water use and wildlife. Now, when the automaker is hoping to start producing vehicles from the factory as early as next month, it has again hit a stumbling block.

The regional environmental ministry stated that an online consultation for local citizens to express objections to Tesla's factory near Berlin will be repeated over concerns that the earlier process did not comply with regulations. The process will open to those who expressed an objection in previous public consultation rounds but were not satisfied with the response from carmaker, and will run from November 2-22.

File photo of a Tesla Supercharging station (Bloomberg)
File photo of a Tesla Supercharging station

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The decision to repeat the process also came after environmental groups disputed that citizens were not informed in advance that the consultation would be digital. "Since, in the absence of sample cases, it is difficult to assess which legal opinion the administrative courts in Brandenburg would adopt in the event of a lawsuit, the licensing authority decided to repeat the online consultation in the emissions control procedure for the vehicle factory for reasons of legal certainty," the ministry's statement read.

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The objection from environmentalists has lead to a delay in the process of building the plant and manufacturing vehicles from it. In the two-year battle so far to get the site running, CEO Elon Musk has also expressed irritation at German laws and processes. He argued that complex planning requirements were at odds with the urgency needed to fight climate change.

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Once operative, the Tesla Berlin Gigafactory is expected to manufacture Model Y electric sedans, sourcing batteries for electric vehicles from Tesla’s facilities in China. Tesla has targets of making between 5,000 and 10,000 electric vehicles vehicles every week at the factory.

(with inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 21 Oct 2021, 17:54 PM IST
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