Tesla has just received approval for foundation-building work for the Giga-Berlin plant in Grünheide near Berlin from the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment. In Berlin itself, the company has also found the location for the planned development and design centre.
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With the approval, Tesla can begin work on the flat foundation in Grünheide and also tackle piping and supports as well as excavation pits. Now workers may also start work on compacting so that the building material delivered by rail can be stored there.
At the same time, the given approval also comes with a few conditions: work may only be carried out between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. During this time, measurements are also taken to check compliance with the noise guidelines. In addition, the work must be carried out above the aquifer and the construction vehicles must be refuelled outside the drinking water protection area.
The approval is not uncontroversial, however: according to environmentalists, Tesla had already started construction efforts on 14 May without any conditions or supervision. According to the Ministry of the Environment, however, this work was stopped exactly because of the lack of approval from the lower water authority. Now, however, approval has been given.
As with the clearing, Tesla is carrying out all work at its own risk: If the entire project is not approved, Tesla must remove the foundations at its own expense. It is not yet clear when the building application will be approved – the hearings on the 370 objections to the building project could not take place as planned in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A little further into the city of Berlin the German newspaper Tagesspiegel reports that Tesla has found a location for its R&D activities in a design centre. Currently, Tesla only operates such a centre in California, but Musk has been waiting to expand Tesla’s design group with European and Chinese design centres.
The centre is to be built in the gasometer on the Euref campus in the Berlin city district of Schöneberg. Although this information has not been officially confirmed there are strong indications that the location has been decided. At the request of the Tagesspiegel, Euref owner Reinhard Müller did not want to confirm the new tenant due to restrictions from confidentiality agreements.
As the newspaper reports, Tesla wants to accommodate about 2,000 employees in the ‘Gasometer’. The building was used as a gas storage facility until 1995 and in 2007 the site began development to become a centre for sustainable energy and transport innovation, now home to a number of different companies, organisations, research institutes and with the involvement of some of Germany’s largest carmakers. However, it will take some time before Tesla can move in: At the moment the expansion of the gasometer is in progress. The ground floor is to become a congress centre, with around 30,000 square metres of office space spread over several floors. The expansion is to take around three years.
Update 27 July 2020: The development and design centre in Berlin planned by Tesla will not be built in the gasometer on the Euref campus in Schöneberg as expected. As the Tagesspiegel now reports with reference to corporate circles, Tesla is not interested in the gasometer and will “definitely” not move in. What Tesla will indeed be putting on the EUREF campus are twelve superchargers.