In Germany, the site for the planned Tesla factory in Brandenburg district of Grünheide has been moved forward with a decisive step: Tesla has now signed the purchase contract with the state of Brandenburg for the 300 hectares of land for Tesla’s Gigafactory 4.
The purchase contract was already approved by the Brandenburg state government earlier this month. On the site near Germany’s capital of Berlin, Tesla wants to have the factory built by summer next year to churn out 150,000 Model 3 and Model Y. This number should increase to 500,000 per year.
Although both the Brandenburg government, and now also Tesla, have signed the purchase contract, a number of details still have to be worked out. The first of these is the actual price – The land was initially valued at roughly 41 million euros, but the final value will be decided by independent evaluation and the price adjusted accordingly.
As Tesla was signing the contract this last weekend, locals were protesting both for and against the factory. Those 200 or so citizens protesting against the factory were most concerned that negotiations were preceding in a secretive and overly hasty manner. It seems the concerned parties are most worried about the protection of the groundwater quality and local wildlife and demand more information about the Californian company’s plans for the site. The site lies in a groundwater protection zone, but also right next to a motorway as well as another industrial area.
Another smaller protest of around 50 people bore banners welcoming Tesla. Some locals are also excited about the employment prospects that the Tesla factory will bring as well as the apparently much-needed restructuring of motorways in and around the area often plagued with traffic jams with through-traffic. Although the project generally appears to have the support of both local politicians as well as many locals, the “for Tesla” demonstration was spontaneously organized by those who lived in the area who were worried “that the whole world thinks that all of Grünheide is against the factory,” and wanted to show their support for the factory, according to the demonstration organisers.
A brief shouting match ensued between the two protest groups but police were able to keep the situation in control. It seems too, that both sides can agree on one thing. “The authorities should definitely have to provide more information,” said the organizer of the pro-Tesla demonstration: “They always just point out that the objection period has now begun. But which citizen reads through the 56 files with all the documents?” he explained. Many of the concerns about the factory may well be allayed by information exchange and fact-checks, but the speed with which decisions about the factory are being made are making some locals feel steamrolled – The Brandenburg government seems very keen to move things forward since the factory represents a huge boost to the local economy, as well as to the adjacent city of Berlin as an international industrial and technological hot spot.
After Tesla faced protests from 50 people the weekend before, the Californian electric car company employed Arcadis, a Dutch building consultancy firm to give information and take questions about the project in a local café. Some residents expressed disappointment that Tesla did not send its own representatives.
– ADVERTISEMENT –