POTSDAM — Tesla has received approval for its German gigafactory near Berlin, the state of Brandenburg where plant is located said on Friday, ending months of delay for the landmark site that was initially supposed to open last summer.
But there was confusion in media reports about Friday’s decision — perhaps having to do with translation problems of the whopping 536-page official document. The New York Times reported that Tesla had received final approval and could begin production. But Reuters said the ruling does not mean that Tesla can start producing right away, and that the electric vehicle pioneer first must prove that it fulfills numerous conditions, including in the area of water use and air pollution control.
Both areas have been of major concern for local environmental groups that fear the plant, located in the small community of Gruenheide near Berlin, will have a negative impact on the local habitat. There is still at least one lawsuit before a judge regarding water issues.
The factory, which Tesla has begun constructing under pre-approval permits, is set to produce over 500,000 battery-electric vehicles a year starting with the Tesla Model Y, while the battery plant will generate over 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year — outstripping European competitors on both fronts.
Numerous public consultations focusing primarily on the environmental impact of the site delayed the process, with Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressing irritation on multiple occasions at the complexity of German bureaucracy.