Tesla has now submitted the amended application documents for the expansion of its car plant in Grünheide to include a battery factory. In addition, the application contains further changes to the press shop and the body shop.
As officially announced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection (MLUK) of the State of Brandenburg, the application includes, in addition to battery production, an expansion of the press shop by two additional press lines – this is intended to increase the vertical range of manufacture at the plant. According to the ministry, the expansion of the pressing plant will require the installation of “approximately 1,180 additional foundation piles”.
The body shop, on the other hand, will be reduced to one production line; the ministry’s statement does not give a reason for this. Production steps for the manufacture and painting of plastic components such as bumper and rear-view mirror covers will also be added.
In addition, the application contains various measures to reduce water consumption, so that despite the expansion of the plant, water consumption is still expected to be around 1.4 million cubic metres per year, as reported, and the expected volume of wastewater around 925,000 cubic metres per year. These volumes are covered by the contract with the public utility.
“With a project of the magnitude of this vehicle plant, rescheduling during the approval process is not unusual,” the statement said. “The developer has the right to amend its application at any time.”
The licensing authority is expected to first decide on renewed public participation in the next few days. A renewed interpretation is considered likely. Tesla had recently received approval from Brandenburg’s State Office for the Environment (LfU) for the early start of functional tests at the Grünheide plant.
Despite the probable third design, Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Jörg Steinbach, still expects that the first Tesla vehicles can be produced at the new factory in Grünheide this year. Speaking at a meeting in Erkner, Steinbach said that construction was “in the final spurt”. Tesla has hired 1,000 workers so far. By the start of production, the number should grow to 3,000, Steinbach said. After that, the workforce will increase in proportion to the increase in production.
In addition to the legal difficulties in setting up the factory, Elon Musk has apparently fired another manager at the Grünheide factory. According to information from Automobilwoche, the Tesla CEO parted company with ‘General Assembly Lead’ Marcel Jost. More detailed reasons are not known. Jost came from Daimler, where he was most recently ‘Head of Safety and Enviromental Managment’ in Stuttgart. In March 2020, Jost became Senior Quality Manager in the General Assembly at Tesla’s Gigfactory. Another top manager from Daimler, René Reif, was also earmarked for Tesla’s new plant, but never took up the new post, as reported. In October 2020, Grünheide project manager Evan Horetsky was already fired, who has since moved to Swedish hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.