Tesla has said it hopes to start the Giga Berlin expansion project in the first half of 2024. This announcement came amidst ongoing public debates about the expansion project, which intends to modernize the existing factory building, establish a water recycling plant, and construct a second production building and a battery recycling facility in the coming years.
The expansion has not been without its fair share of controversies. More than 1,000 objections have been raised against Tesla’s expansion plans, with the primary focus on potential environmental impacts and concerns about the plant’s water consumption. One of the key points of contention has been the plant’s water usage. The Strausberg-Erkner Water Association, in particular, has been vocal in opposing Tesla’s expansion, citing its inability to provide the water volume required for increased production, according to a report from the German publication rbb24.
Environmental groups such as the Green League, Nabu, and the Association for Nature and Landscape have raised concerns about the discussion process. They’ve criticized the redaction of certain documents and the subsequent alterations to the application documents after their initial publication. This has raised questions about the transparency and consistency of the process.
Despite these objections, the State Office for the Environment has deemed Tesla’s updates to the application documents legal. Meeting leader André Zschiegner clarified that changes to documents were allowed as long as they did not constitute a completely new project. The state maintains that the documents must provide a rough outline of the proposed expansion.
In a show of support for Tesla’s expansion, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized the importance of retaining companies like Tesla to bolster the country’s economy. He highlighted the need to strike a balance between environmental concerns and economic prosperity.
According to the plans released last year, the expansion will increase Giga Berlin’s production capacity from 500,000 to over 1,000,000 vehicles per year, and increase its battery production capacity from 50GWh to 100GWh per year.