The long-delayed German giant Tesla plant receives conditional green light

Workers prepare a scaffolding at the site of the Tesla electric car factory in Gruenheide, near Berlin, Germany, March 4, 2022. REUTERS / Annegret Hilse

March 5, 2022

By Nadine Schimroszik and Christoph Steitz

POTSDAM, Germany (Reuters) – Tesla Inc. received conditional green light for its German giga plant near Berlin on Friday, the state of Brandenburg said, ending months of delays for the € 5 billion ($ 5.5 billion) landmark plant. ).

The giant plant, which is vital to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s ambitions to beat European market leader Volkswagen, was originally set to open last summer.

Germany’s largest carmaker has the upper hand in Europe, accounting for 25% of electric vehicle (EV) sales compared to Tesla’s 13%.

Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke told a news conference that the development marked “a big step forward”, adding that the Tesla plant would be a major industrial and technological driver for Germany and the region.

About 2,600 of the factory’s expected 12,000 workers have been hired so far, the unions said last month, and Tesla is in talks with many spare parts suppliers in the area to procure as many locally as possible, reducing downtime and costs.

Underlining fierce competition from Tesla, Volkswagen said on Friday it would spend about 2 billion euros on a new plant near its Wolfsburg headquarters to make the Trinity the first of a new generation of electric vehicles for the German carmaker. with construction starting next year.

Friday’s 536-page conditional building permit for Tesla does not mean that the US-based pioneer EV can start production immediately. It must first demonstrate that it meets a number of requirements, including water use and air pollution control.

Only then will Tesla receive its long-awaited license and actually start shipping the 500,000 battery-powered vehicles it wants to produce each year to its new plant in the small Gruenheide community.

Another hurdle to securing the site’s water supply arose late Friday, when an Frankfurt Oder administrative court sided with environmental groups that had challenged permission given to a local water company to supply the site with a Tesla site.

However, the court said that the procedural errors made in the licensing decision could be corrected by the water company, leaving the door open to save the water supply device.

The start of production in Germany would mean that Tesla could deliver its Model Y cars to European customers faster and cheaper, following orders in Europe from its Shanghai plant in recent months, as it awaited site approval.

Tesla plans to show that it meets the requirements within the next two weeks, said Brandenburg Environment Minister Axel Vogel, while the objections can be submitted next month.

Tesla’s next challenge will be to escalate production as quickly as possible, something Musk said at an on-site report in October will take longer than the plant to build.

Local environmental groups have long feared that the plant would adversely affect the local habitat. Many public consultations, focusing mainly on this aspect, delayed the process, with Musk repeatedly voicing frustration with the German bureaucracy.

The plant, which Tesla has begun building under pre-approval licenses, will also include a battery unit capable of producing more than 50 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year – surpassing European competitors.

The locally produced car batteries will initially come from China, Musk said, but intends to reach production volume at the German battery plant by the end of next year.

($ 1 = 0.9163 euros)

(Report by Nadine Schimroszik, Christoph Steitz, Jan Schwartz, Victoria Waldersee and Ludwig Burger; edited by Kirsti Knolle, Miranda Murray, Louise Heavens and Alexander Smith)

The long-delayed German giant Tesla plant receives conditional green light

Source link The long-delayed German giant Tesla plant receives conditional green light

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