Tesla wants to start producing its electric vehicles at its Giga Berlin facility in Germany in July 2021, and the Brandenburg local government, who is overseeing the approval of the project, is willing to help.
Reports out of Germany suggest that some of Tesla’s most prominent supporters within local government agencies, including Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs Jörg Steinbach, are willing to prolong exemptions to allow the company to stay on schedule with the construction of its production plant.
According to Sueddeutssche, the Brandenburg state government is willing to take advantage of the “limits of licensing practice.” This move would allow Tesla to begin construction of its German facility as long as the company assumes the risk. If the Brandenburg government were to deny Tesla’s application to break ground on construction, the company would be responsible for restoring the land to its original state.
The efforts to keep the project moving forward became apparent after Steinbach stated Tesla emphasized its ambition to keep the project on time. Steinbach has been one of the company’s most vocal supporters, citing the financial help the company’s presence would provide to the country. “The Tesla factory is a project that can also be an anchor on which others can stand up,” Steinbach said.
Typically, the government is required to listen to objections from local citizens who are concerned about issues a new business may cause. Tesla’s most significant problems, according to residents, were environmental, citing tree removal, and water consumption as their more prominent concerns.
However, this process cannot take place generally due to the social distancing regulations that are currently in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some suggested an online platform for the meeting so the company and government can confront environmental concerns. Still, the Federal Immission Control Act states the hearing must be accessible to everyone. The online format for the meeting does not fit this template, Sueddeutssche reports.
Others believe the meeting should still take place in person. Frauke Zelt, a member of the Ministry of the Environment in nearby Potsdam, said, “The replacement date has been postponed to a later date, which cannot yet be named.” Initial production dates for Tesla could delay to later in 2020 if the government plans to maintain an in-person meeting. Zelt added that there are “no special regulations for individual procedures, even if they are of great economic importance.”
Members of the Brandenburg State Government recognize the importance of Tesla’s presence within the country. The economic benefits that Tesla can provide to Brandenburg state and German as a whole would provide 12,000 employment opportunities and a sizeable injection of manufacturing into the country’s slumping economy.
Tesla’s benefits in Germany go past economic. The company’s electric vehicles will ultimately decrease the aggregate amount of carbon emissions that come from standard transportation. The company’s development of the land it purchased for the facility required the removal of 90 hectares of trees. Tesla will be replacing these trees by replanting them three-fold in areas that surround Germany.
It is evident Tesla plans to open the doors of Giga Berlin for production in July 2021. With the current pandemic derailing some of the current plans, like the previously scheduled late March groundbreaking, Tesla’s assistance could come from the most influential figures within the Brandenburg government.