Tesla begins clearing German forest to EV expand plant

Jessica Thompson

Tesla began clearing a German forest late Friday to expand its electric-car factory near Berlin, a key piece of the company’s growth plans for Europe.

The automaker is working on an application to increase its storage and logistics capacity at its site in Gruenheide, a spokesman said early Saturday, confirming a report by the Maerkische Onlinezeitung.

Tesla already started the process of clearing some 70 hectares (173 acres) of trees necessary for the expansion, the spokesman said.

“I am pleased that Tesla will proceed,” Joerg Steinbach, the economy minister for the state of Brandenburg, where the factory is located, tweeted on Friday. “Our country is developing into a place of modern mobility.”

It’s unclear how swift any significant expansion of the factory will be.

Major additions require approvals from environmental authorities and kick off another consultation process with locals, some of whom have complained the site uses too much water and threatens local wildlife.

The company has previously said it wants to expand the factory by about 100 hectares to add a freight yard and warehouse to bolster the site’s rail links and stockpile parts.

CEO Elon Musk handed over the first 30 Model Ys built at the factory to customers in March after months of bureaucratic setbacks. The company complained at one point last year about “irritating” delays to final approval of the project and said the process was slowing down Germany’s industrial transformation.

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