Photo: Tesla (production at a German factory)
At 10 a.m. this Monday, more than a thousand objections to Tesla’s plans to expand its Gigafactory in nearby Grünheide began being discussed at Erkner City Hall – and surprisingly, it was already over on Tuesday. After the first discussion about Tesla three years ago, observers had already expected the event to last several days, but due to the absence of many critics, it ended quickly this time. The planned Gigafactory expansion is now scheduled to begin in the first half of 2024.
Tesla’s discussion was partially interrupted
In the first step, Tesla applied for approval last March, with a production capacity of 500,000 electric cars and 50 gigawatt hours of batteries annually. But this should only be the beginning, as reported last March and confirmed in July: Tesla has submitted expansion requests with the aim of doubling capacity and headcount in three phases, of which only the first phase has now been discussed.
After receiving more than a thousand objections from citizens and associations, it was expected in advance that the official date for their discussion would be set again – and the exchange on Tesla’s first plans for Grünheide in September 2020 lasted for eight working days. But this time everything went faster: how RBB ReportsThe new discussion ended on Tuesday afternoon after two days.
However, this was not because there was sudden agreement about Tesla’s plans, but rather because important critics boycotted the appointment. According to RBB, the Brandenburg Green Association canceled its participation shortly before due to parts of Tesla’s documentation being withheld or later changed without explanation. The WSE Water Association was not represented for the same reason. The chair of the meeting confirmed the subsequent changes, but described the scope as minimal and the action permissible.
The Gigafactory expansion is scheduled to begin in 2024
The absence is unlikely to have any consequences for Tesla’s project – but perhaps vice versa for its critics, whom the director promised, according to the RBB, would be less likely to be heard in subsequent complaints. As the public broadcaster reported, only about 20 people were said to have protested on Monday and only 8 on Tuesday. Tesla had previously stated that it did not expect the appointment to reveal fundamental problems for the rest of the Gigafactory project.
After a relatively short discussion, this prediction can now be considered confirmed, even if a boycott was not necessarily expected. The next step will be to approve the first new partial application. As Tesla representatives said according to RBB information in Erkner, implementation should start in the first half of 2024. However, at first, it is mainly about improving existing buildings and systems. The actual Gigafactory doubling will be implemented later in two more partial implementations.
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