Tesla wants to expand its electric car factory in Grünheide, which has just opened, in the short term. The US group has now announced behind the scenes to the state of Brandenburg that it intends to acquire another 100 hectares east of the 300-hectare plant. This was confirmed by authorities on Thursday after the RBB first reported on these Tesla plans.
The owner of the area, which is located between the electric car factory, the Berlin-Frankfurt (Oder) railway line and two country roads, is predominantly the state of Brandenburg. Tesla is planning a freight station there for car deliveries and transportation, as well as additional storage areas.
As reported, Tesla is also pursuing its plans to have its own train shuttle service from Erkner Station directly to the plant in the future. Tesla would also need space for further expansion phases of the electric car and battery plant, which has so far been approved for an annual production of 500,000 vehicles.
The factory caused controversy mainly due to water problems and more recently an accident. With the expansion, new conflicts on the sale of the forest, on deforestation, but also on the partial placement in the area of protection of drinking water would probably be inevitable. The pine forest grows on the 100 hectares of state-owned forestry activity, as well as on the main area until 2020.
At the ministry there is still “no concrete offer”.
Indeed, Landeswald is only sold in exceptional cases. “The state-owned enterprise separates itself from forest areas only if they are as uneconomical as chipped properties,” the homepage states. The Ministry of the Environment, headed by Minister Axel Vogel (Verdi), is responsible. Tesla had acquired the previous 300-hectare site from the state for around 40 million euros.
“Tesla’s plans to acquire additional land east of the Tesla site are known to the state government,” Ministry spokeswoman Frauke Zelt told Tagesspiegel. For a purchase of 100 hectares of land by Tesla, “the Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment does not currently have a concrete offer”.
The Gigafactory on the East Berlin Ring, from which Tesla supplies Europe, was opened on March 22 by Elon Musk in the presence of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister of Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke (both SPDs).
Final approval for the plant, which Tesla had obtained through early permits from 2020, had been granted just two weeks earlier. When the approval was announced, Vogel and his company pointed out that Tesla needed to demonstrate that it met the roughly 400 conditions of the approval before production began.
The left-wing opposition in the state parliament was all the more angered by the fact that, after a government response to the parliament, not all requirements have so far been implemented.
Safety requirements according to the Ministry satisfied
In the state parliament’s environmental committee, Susanne Wolff, the ministry’s approval expert, spoke of “deceptive” communication. “Everything that needed to be checked was checked,” she said. Tesla has demonstrated all the requirements that have to do with safety. Some requirements “can only be verified during normal operation”. Others, for example in canteens, have not yet been implemented. Therefore, so far the canteens are not authorized to enter into operation. The “first review”, a sort of acceptance by the authorities, is scheduled for 9 May.
[Wenn Sie alle aktuellen Nachrichten live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
The fact that this happens with a time delay after commissioning is not only the case with Tesla, but with every system. The Tesla plant is “in 30 years in the state of Brandenburg (…) the only plant that has been so thoroughly inspected before it went into operation,” Wolff said. There is neither reason nor legal basis for an operating ban, such as the one demanded by the Green League after the latest incident.
In the event of an accident, according to the authorities, 15,000 liters of paint leaked which were collected in the paint department, but then a few liters of a water-paint mixture leaked. According to Wolff, Tesla should have informed the Strausberg-Erkner Water Association (WSE) of the accident, which, according to the WSE, did not happen. Environment Minister Vogel ruled out “that there was a serious danger to people”.