Tesla expects to begin expansions on its Gigafactory in Grünheide, Germany early next year, according to statements made by the company at a recent public forum about the plans.
According to a report from the German publication RBB 24 on Tuesday, a Tesla spokesperson said the company hopes to perform factory expansions to the Brandenburg location starting in the first half of 2024. The expansions will begin with construction to modernize the existing facility and build a water recycling plant before initiating plans to add a second production facility and a battery recycling plant in the following years.
The statements came during a discussion on Monday, in which residents, authorities and company spokespeople gathered in Erkner to discuss the plans for expansions. The discussions officially ended on Tuesday with the agency rejecting objections to the project.
Many attendees criticized Tesla’s changes to application documentation as the process has gone along. However, the State Office for the Environment (LfU) argued that the changes were legal and were only meant to add clarifications or corrections to the details.
The LfU received over 1,000 objections to Tesla’s Giga Berlin expansion plans, primarily concerning the environmental impact and water consumption of the projects, and the discussions included around 100 people, according to RBB 24. The decision officially concludes discussions on water regarding Tesla’s expansion plans, and they’ll now shift to talking about how much noise is generated at the site.
Last week, Brandenburg Minister Axel Vogel weighed in on the water consumption discussions, pointing out that Giga Berlin uses significantly less water than the state has approved. Local companies using much more water include a coal plant, a waste facility, an oil refinery and a nearby asparagus farm.
Tesla submitted expansion plans to the government in July, revealing that it expects the second phase of construction to boost annual production capacity to one million vehicles per year. In addition to increasing vehicle production, the automaker also hopes to reach 100 gigawatt hours of annual battery production at the plant, which could become water-intensive.
In the past, Tesla has also said it would be able to perform the upcoming expansions without increasing water supply. The news also comes after years of criticisms and legal issues lodged at the factory’s water consumption.