Tesla and authorities in Germany don’t seem to be getting along these days over reports of the US manufacturer getting held up on red tape issues over its Giga Berlin construction. Tesla sent a letter to a regional court in Berlin expressing its frustration in lengthy approval processes.
The company said it had “learned first-hand that obstacles in Germany’s approval processes are slowing down the necessary industrial transformation. This discourages necessary investments in clean-energy projects and infrastructure and makes it practically impossible for Germany to achieve its climate goals.”
Tesla also suggest the country needs to reduce the red tape requirements if the country wants to speed up projects that address climate change problems. The scathing letter from Tesla also included comments that it’s “particularly irritating” that the carmaker doesn’t have any definite timeline to get final approval for its massive factory even though they filed the application 16 months ago.
At the start of the project, Tesla was assured that all legal proceedings would be a swift process, much like Giga Shanghai where red tape was readily resolved to get construction completed. Tesla has had challenges right from the start, even with deciding on the new factory’s name.
It was also reported that Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Jörg Steinbach wanted Tesla to focus on promoting Brandenburg but Musk was adamant on having the factory named Giga Berlin. Tesla’s Technoking nearly gave up on idea of building a factory there but Steinbach and Musk finally agreed that the official name of the site would be Giga Berlin-Brandenburg. However, the world has come to know the new Giga factory as simply Giga Berlin.
Tesla’s Giga Berlin has nearly completed construction and intends to be operational by July this year. This is a critical project for the US auto manufacturer that’s invested in its next Gigafactory in the town of Gruenheide, near Berlin.
The German state’s government has refuted Tesla’s criticism saying it cannot give preference to climate-friendly projects but it is committed to putting a special team together to help the US company get through the regulated approval process.
When Tesla comes online, will it prove to be very beneficial for the country and the area Berlin with employment as well as helping Germany accelerate its move to the electric-car. The higher powers are in full support for Tesla and Elon Musk with the German Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier promising Musk he will get the necessary assistance to get Giga Berlin up and running. And the Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer posted on Twitter also supporting the letter that Tesla had written asking Germany to “simplify approval procedures, reduce bureaucracy and promote innovation.”
Giga Berlin is set to manufacture 500,000 EVs annually at the facility, which will be distributed across Europe. Tesla went ahead with construction despite the risk and cost with pending approvals. Last year, the US car company wasn’t short of problems with having to face legal obstacles from environmental activists that protested the EV factory would pose a threat to the local wildlife amongst other issues.
The factory site is near a protected environment area causing much concern for residents who feel the factory might pollute water resources. Then during the construction process, Tesla had to deal with the region’s sandy soil that required piles for a strong, solid foundation but unfortunately, Germany has groundwater zones that did not permit the use of piles. Tesla was initially fined but later received an exemption from the groundwater protection ordinance and placed 560 piles on the ground.
Besides the environment backlash and delayed administrative processes, Tesla’s headaches won’t stop there. The company is also going to have to confront the union issue as the US auto manufacturer does not plan to have unions at the Giga Berlin factory.