Tesla: Gigafactory Grünheide expansion is a Go

Tesla has received the green light from the Grünheide municipality for its plan to expand the Gigafactory site near Berlin by 100 hectares. There is also news about the planned water supply and the workforce at the German Tesla factory.

First of all, the planned expansion of the factory site, which is not to be confused with the expansion of the factory itself, which is also planned: the current approval is the green light for the purchase of 100 hectares of land to the east of the existing site. Tesla had already initiated this step in May 2022 with a submitted application to initiate a development plan procedure for the same 100 hectares.

According to information from the municipality, Tesla wants to build logistics areas, a service centre for customers, a company daycare centre and training rooms on this site. In addition, as reported, a freight station is planned. The current Tesla site covers about 300 hectares.

Against the background of the parallel factory expansion in the narrower sense – in the course of which the production capacities are to increase from 500,000 to over one million electric cars per year – Tesla is now apparently looking for water itself, according to research by Stern and RTL. “Tesla is looking for suitable and productive groundwater reserves,” Marlies Görsdorf, technical director of the Zweckverband Wasserversorgung Fürstenwalde, is quoted as saying in the media. The Fürstenwalde region is close to the factory. Tesla’s independent search for water has met with criticism from environmental groups.

We first reported on Tesla’s plans to expand the production capacities of the vehicle plant in Grünheide at the end of October. According to a report in the local publication Märkische Oderzeitung at the time, the expansion involves 70 hectares in the north of the site. While the initial clearing was still covered by the current development plan, Tesla has to reapply for the expansion of the factory itself. According to current information, this application is to be submitted this year.

The planned hall must again be approvable according to the Federal Immission Control Act. In other words, there will again be public participation and – as Tesla did with the previous factory construction – there will most likely be a series of applications for preliminary permits in order to be able to start promptly.

Meanwhile, the portal Wired reports that Tesla is having problems finding enough staff to increase production in Grünheide and retain the existing workforce. The plant cannot operate in the planned three shifts because of the lack of employees, the portal writes, citing former and current employees.

When the German Tesla plant opened in March, it was said that 5,000 vehicles per week should roll off the production lines there by the end of this year. Grünheide is far from that, because the company has so far only managed to hire 7,000 of the planned 12,000 employees, it continues. In addition, the number of employees seems to be stagnating because many employees are already leaving because of poor working conditions and low pay. According to the IG Metall trade union, Tesla pays 20 per cent less than comparable companies.

handelsblatt.comrbb24.deteslamag.de (expansion), teslarati.com (water supply), wired.co.uk (staff)


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