Postdam’s State Office for the Environment approved another preliminary permit for the construction of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin. The EV automaker was allowed to continue building its casting facility for Model Y production. Continued construction work around the foundry has also been allowed.
According to a local press release, approval for the recent preliminary permit was possible because it did not require any additional use of land or impact the environment further. Tesla has applied for a sixth early permit approval to start building its revolutionary paint shop and clear more of the trees in the forest. Approval for the sixth permit is still pending as it requires “extensive examination.”
It seems like the environmental agency considered this seventh early approval as an extension of previous permits which allowed Tesla to build pile foundations. The latest early permit simply allows Tesla to put up supporting structures for the roof and outer walls of the casting facility and areas around the foundry.
Tesla plans to start producing the Model Y at Giga Berlin by the second half of 2021. The casting facility will be an important step in Germany’s Model Y production line. Giga Berlin will be using Tesla’s mammoth Giga Press machines to assemble the Model Y’s single-piece casts.
The Giga Press is a beast of a machine. It takes 24 flatbed trucks to transport the components for the 430-ton casting contraption. Foundry Planet provided a in-depth look at the assembly of Tesla’s Giga Press No. 3 earlier this month, showcasing the machine’s size. According to the electric company’s permits, Giga Berlin will have at least 8 Giga Press machines, hinting at the volume production Tesla plans for the factory.
The Model Y’s single-piece casting may be a step towards Tesla’s new vehicle production approach. During Battery Day, the EV automaker announced that its battery packs would be integrated with its car’s frames and completed with single-piece castings at the front and back. This allows the company to optimize the costs and efficiencies of its production process.
Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois suggested that Tesla’s new vehicle design would render its current skateboard design obsolete in the future. Elon Musk provided more details on the new design for Houchois to speculate over.
“I mean several years from now. It’s not like existing cars stop having value. It’s just that if you have a structural pack, where the pack is contributing structural value to the car because of like the — sort of like the composite honeycomb effect of share transfer between upper and lower plate, then anything that doesn’t do that is going to have to have duplicate hardware. It’s going to weigh more.
“It’s going to cost more. And then the same goes for the front and rear castings. To be frank, we’re trying to make the car like you’d make a toy. If you had a toy model car, how would — and then it’s got to be real cheap and look great, how would you make that? You’ll cast it,” Musk told the Jeffries analyst.