Tesla Giga Berlin proposed expansion divides residents, but sees youth support

Credit: Tesla Manufacturing/Facebook

Tesla Giga Berlin is already a prominent feature in Grünheide, a town of 9,000 people near Berlin, Germany. But even if the facility is already an expansive industrial complex, Giga Berlin is still nowhere near complete. Tesla has every intention to expand the facility, but before the company is permitted to grow the plant, the project would have to be approved first. 

The approval of Giga Berlin’s proposed expansion is poised to see progress on Tuesday, with officials expected to announce the results of a community vote about the initiative. Tesla has done what it can to persuade residents to vote for Giga Berlin’s proposed expansion, which includes clearing an additional 250 acres of forest for warehouses and a rail yard, and the construction of a daycare center for employees and the community. 

The opposition to the proposed expansion is still notable. As noted in a New York Times report, some resident groups in the area are determined to block Giga Berlin’s expansion. Steffen Schorcht, a 63-year-old who lives close to Giga Berlin, complained that the light pollution from the factory meant that he could no longer see the stars at night. He and several neighbors have initiated efforts to persuade community members to reject Tesla’s proposal. “”We say, ‘enough is enough,'” he said. 

Giga Berlin is not just receiving opposition from local groups, however. As noted by the NYT, Giga Berlin’s proposed expansion has seen some serious support from the youth. Three teenagers — 17-year-old Silas Heineken, 16-year-old Moritz Tezky, and 18-year-old Tariq Löber — have even gone the extra mile by creating a website with a built-in chatbot that addresses visitors’ concerns about the electric vehicle plant. 

“We realized how easy it is for people to be against something, to reject something new. It was this general opposition that was really bothering us,” Heineken noted. The teens also noted that the arrival of Tesla to Grünheide ushered in progress to the area, such as additional bus routes, more frequent trains to Berlin, and a more vibrant retail and restaurant scene. “I don’t feel like I’m living in a dead suburb anymore,” Tezky noted. 

Brandenburg governor Dietmar Woidke noted that Tesla’s arrival in Grünheide has benefited the economy. During the first half of 2023, for example, Germany’s overall economy saw a contraction of 0.3% year-over-year. But in Brandenburg, where Giga Berlin is located, the economy saw a growth of 6%, the strongest among the country’s 16 states. “That has something to do with Tesla,” Woidke stated, adding that Tesla’s flexibility for its employees is also an asset to the region. 

“Tesla hires and trains people, regardless of what qualification they have earned, whether they are now engineers, skilled workers, or whether they have trained to be bakers, or whether they have no professional training at all,” he said. 

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Tesla Giga Berlin proposed expansion divides residents, but sees youth support
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