As Tesla waits for Giga Berlin’s final approval, critics reiterate water supply concerns

Giga Berlin's new graffiti panels as of early FebruGiga Berlin's new graffiti panels as of early February 2022. (Credit: @Gf4Tesla/Twitter)ary 2022. (Credit: @Gf4Tesla/Twitter)

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin is raring to go, with the facility producing preproduction Model Ys over the past weeks. With the massive factory still awaiting its final approval, some of Giga Berlin’s critics have reiterated concerns about the electric vehicle factory’s water consumption. 

Elon Musk has been asked about Giga Berlin’s water consumption in the past. While he stated last August that water is “everywhere” in the area, the CEO also noted back in 2020 that Tesla will be willing to follow any advice that would help the EV factory optimize its water consumption. 

“The factory just is not a very intense consumer of water per square meter. That’s, you know, over the course of the year, per square meter, it’s not a very intense usage of water, and we’ll recycle as much as humanly possible. I’m pretty confident that it’ll be the most environmentally friendly factory in the world. 

“And that’s what they are about. And so anything we can do to make it better for the environment, we want to do that, because that’s the mission of the company. So if anyone has any advice, we’re very open to criticism and advice for what we can do better. So let us know,” Musk said.

Despite this commitment, Giga Berlin critics have so far been steadfast in the notion that there is not enough water in the area to accommodate the electric vehicle production facility. A legal challenge is poised to go to court next week, and local authorities have acknowledged that water supply may not suffice once the facility is ramped. 

Irina Engelhardt, the head of the hydrogeology department at Berlin’s Technical University, described the issue. “Tesla will increase the problem for sure. There might not be enough water for everyone,” Engelhardt said

Brandenburg Economy Minister Joerg Steinbach, an avid supporter of the Giga Berlin project, also acknowledged that the upcoming electric vehicle facility would consume more water once it is expanded. “The current water supply is sufficient for the first stage of the factory,” Steinbach said, adding that when Tesla rolls out expansions to the site, “we will need more.”

Giga Berlin was built at a fairly quick speed, but its deployment has seen notable delays. Part of this is due to Tesla’s additions to the project, as well as the red tape involved in securing a final approval for the facility. So far, Giga Berlin has only secured an approval to produce preproduction Model Ys that cannot be sold to the public. In comparison, Gigafactory Texas, which is larger and which started construction later than Giga Berlin, seems on track to start deliveries of the Made-in-Texas Model Y before the end of the first quarter. 

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As Tesla waits for Giga Berlin’s final approval, critics reiterate water supply concerns
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