Tesla has submitted a request to the Brandenburg Environmental Ministry to begin construction of the foundation for Giga Berlin and ring in an official groundbreaking for its German factory. The filing follows the recent completion of ground-leveling at the factory grounds, an indication that the electric car maker is ready to begin building its first European production facility.
“The application has been received,” Frauke Zelt said on Monday. Zelt is the spokeswoman for the State of Brandenburg’s Environmental Ministry. “It will be examined,” she added.
If allowed, the early approval would give Tesla the authority to build the foundation of the Giga Berlin plant, according to Bild. This would enable the company to maintain its schedule despite a week-long shut down due to protests filed by the Brandenburg Green League in February. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has halted work at some of Tesla’s other production facilities has not affected the construction project of Giga Berlin.
Looks like they've already completed the leveling! 🥳
The excavators are waiting to be picked up, most of the vehicles have already been transported away to the main entrance and the 🦇 tree is still standing 😂 pic.twitter.com/9tPZMpwaPe
— Emil Senkel (@EmilSenkel) April 2, 2020
While the early approval would permit Tesla to start building the facility, the company still faces risk of project delays from local opposition. In the rare chance that the project would be halted due to unfavorable townhall feedback, Tesla would be required to return the lands to their original state at the company’s cost.
The site’s 93-hectare area was cleared of low-grade cardboard farm trees in February to avoid disturbing the site’s wildlife before the bird breeding season that began in early March. Tesla will replant three times as many trees as it removes in areas around Germany.
After the tree removal process was complete from the land, Tesla applied for and received early approval to begin leveling the grounds on March 10. Construction crews have been leveling the site for the last three weeks, and the excavation process is near completion according to new photos from Emil Senkel.
Tesla initially planned on starting the building process for the foundation for its Giga Berlin production plant in the latter part of March. Economic Minister Jörg Steinbach requested that Tesla CEO Elon Musk attend the groundbreaking ceremony. Musk confirmed his attendance, but travel restrictions have placed the CEO’s presence in jeopardy as travel from some European countries, including Germany, to the United States has been banned.
Tesla plans to begin production of its vehicles at the plant, starting with the new Model Y crossover in July 2021. The factory is expected to give Germany’s economy a jolt by providing 12,000 jobs once it is operational.