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Tesla Giga Gruenheide Will Only Start Making Cars by Mid-March – If Nothing Changes

If Tesla had presented its plans for Giga Grünheide only once, it is not unlikely that it could have started manufacturing cars in Germany last summer, as it planned. However, multiple changes delayed a final permit for the factory and production. Tesla will delay opening the plant again. In the best-case scenario, that will happen by mid-March.
Tesla Giga Gruenheide 12 photos
Photo: Tesla
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Before that, the best prediction we had about when the factory would start activities was “early 2022,” as the Brandenburg premier Dietmar Woidke said in December. At the time, we wrote that Tesla had submitted all documents for the final permit. Yet, RBB24 noted that this was not exactly true.

In its latest report about the factory, the German website stated that Tesla had “repeatedly changed quantities of toxic chemicals that could leak in accidents.” The Brandenburg authorities also have to revise how Tesla will clean its wastewaters. Those would be the most important factors for it to grant the EV maker the approval it still needs. However, there are more concerns involved.

The main one relates to the water supply. Elon Musk joked that Grünheide had plenty of water because “it rains a lot” there. He was the only one laughing about it at the improvised press conference. The truth is that the region will miss the 1.4 million cubic meters of water per year that Tesla will need.

Although other industries in the region demand much more water than what Tesla requires to operate, adding the EV maker to the list of companies that need that resource stress the supply. An example is Google. RBB24 wrote that it wanted to establish a data center in a nearby city (Neuenhagen) which would demand as much water as Tesla. The WSE (Wasserverband Strausberg-Erkner) did not allow Google to do that.

The dispute with environmentalists about water usage reached German courts. The Verwaltungsgericht Frankfurt (Oder) – an administrative court – is evaluating that, but a decision was postponed due to some effects of the international health crisis. We should hear from Verwaltungsgericht Frankfurt (Oder) only in March.

Tesla formally presented plans for Giga Grünheide three times. In all of them, Brandenburg authorities received objections from environmental organizations and citizens about the EV maker’s plans. On top of that, Tesla also laid sewage pipes, built coolant tanks, and installed devices to generate electricity in the area without due permits. The company was fined but it did not pay the fines when it should have paid them.

The latest dispute involving the company was a deposit that German authorities demanded from Tesla in case it did not obtain the final permit. The money was a safeguard to ensure it would be possible to demolish everything if the EV maker failed to get the approval to make cars there. RBB24 stated that Tesla failed that payment so many times that authorities imposed a construction freeze.

The American automaker was only able to get back to building its factory with a letter that made its subsidiary Tesla Grohmann Automation responsible for paying for the demolition in case it was necessary. The EV maker bought Grohmann in January 2017. Its founder, Klaus Grohmann, was ousted in April 2017 after clashing with Musk.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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