Tesla has informed the approval authority that the permit application for the plant in Grünheide is to be amended to include battery cell production. This is likely to delay the start of vehicle production at the Gigafactory by months.
According to official information from the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment, the amended application will also include the construction and operation of a battery cell production plant. The exact scope of the planned changes is not yet known to the responsible licensing authority, the State Office for the Environment (LfU). It can be assumed, however, that this change will require renewed public participation.
Since no more detailed information is available on the nature and scope of the planned changes, the ministry says it is not yet possible to make any statements on the further course of the procedure and the length of time it will take to reach a final decision.
This also explains Tesla’s statement in its most recent quarterly report on Monday evening, where the carmaker itself expects production to start “at the end of 2021” – previously there had always been talk of a production start-up in July. While there have been reports that final approval could drag on, the amendment now announced by Tesla will most certainly delay approval.
Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Jörg Steinbach, had already said on Tuesday: “It is not possible to give a concrete date for when the approval process will be completed here and now – because the principle of quality before speed clearly applies here.”
The Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel reports that the start of production will be delayed until “at least October”. Apparently, the newspaper simply added the three months Steinbach mentioned as the maximum time horizon to the previously targeted production start in July. The newspaper does not name another source for the October/November 2021 figure.