Work on Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory Halted by Snakes - Almost Literally

It was only a few years ago that Tesla had one factory located in Palo Alto where it was making one car, the Model S electric sedan. Now, it has two Gigafactories on top of that (one of which is in China) and two more in the making (one of which is in Europe).
Tesla Giga Berlin 1 photo
If Tesla is to fulfill its global ambitions, it desperately needs a stronger presence in Europe. The market there may not be as large as the Chinese or its domestic one, but it's where it can go head-to-head with European manufacturers, and if it manages to come out on top, it's where it can really build its reputation beyond any doubt.

That's precisely why the company is currently working its socks off to complete the Gigafactory near Berlin. With the plant in place, Tesla will be able to meet the growing demand in Europe, not to mention skipping the lengthy shipping process and eliminating any sort of additional taxes.

Fortunately for Tesla, the German government has welcomed the EV maker and did its part to ensure the building process would be as smooth a sail as possible. Sadly, the local environmental groups didn't.

To make room for the massive structure, Tesla needs to remove a large number of trees. In line with its green credentials, the company promised it would plant three times as many trees, but that alone was not enough to please the activists. And they have a point.

According to two environmental groups - The Brandenburg Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) and the Green League - it's not enough to replace the trees with others when the initial deforestation itself messes with the local ecosystem. More to the point, they claim that removing the pine tree that Tesla needs gone to make room for a sewer line and storage areas will result in the killing of protected animal species, including sand lizards and smooth snakes.

The best possible protection of strictly protected animal species would have been part of solid planning,” said Christiane Schröder, Managing Director of Nabu Brandenburg, quoted by German publication Der Tagesspiegel (translated from German). "Although all experts know that, even after two years of intensive catching, it can hardly be ruled out that sand lizards and smooth snakes will be killed during such a construction project; it is claimed here that after two months you can be sure that you have caught all the animals, it is completely impossible.

As things stand right now, Tesla has been ordered to stop any deforestation until there is a court order. With production initially slated to begin next July, the EV maker is probably looking at a delayed start. Either that or Elon Musk will fly with his sleeping bag to Berlin and shame everyone into keeping up with him by working around the clock.


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