The Californian electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla had very ambitious goals for its factory at the Freienbrink industrial park near Berlin. This summer, the production of Model Ys was supposed to commence. Elon Musk just dumped this goal.
Berlin, May 4th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — These days, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, one of the most colorful characters in business today, seems to be preoccupied with other projects. First of all, his company SpaceX is transporting lots of passengers to the International Space Station and back to Earth. Cape Canaveral must be about as crowded as Union Station in Washington D.C. on a Friday afternoon.
The Right Host
When Musk does not tweet about those ISS flights, he demands a permanent outpost on the Moon, also because SpaceX was supposed to build a Moon lander until the project was stopped due to legal trouble. He also wants “a city on Mars” and pleads for “a spacefaring civilization”. So, space, the final frontier, seems to have the highest priority. There is something else none other than Elon Musk is busy with: On May 8th, the man himself is supposed to host NBC’s Saturday Night Live. They definitely picked the right guest host who will deliver.
In quite some time, Musk has not said anything about his project in Brandenburg, since he slammed the German authorities and the country’s infamous bureaucracy. He demanded changes to the authorization process in the land of sausage and cuckoo clocks. Brandenburg’s Environment Agency is giving him headaches. Musik is used to the much simpler procedures in the United States. In Germany, Tesla’s construction activities commenced with preliminary permissions. What this means is that Tesla has to remove parts of its ‘Gigafactory’, or even the whole thing, if it does not get the authorizations it needs, at least in theory. Of course, this worst-case scenario will not happen.
In part, the delays were caused by Tesla itself, since the company kept on changing its plans and had to amend applications for permissions all the time. Last summer, the Americans were supposed to receive an approval by the Environment Agency. And this summer, they were going to start building Model Ys in Brandenburg. The ‘Gigafactory’ is located just outside Berlin. But environmental associations have successfully delayed the process, because of worries about the ground water in Freienbrink, and other aspects. Musk is not exactly happy about the way things are going in Germany.
He had wanted to manufacture half a million vehicles per year starting in July of 2021. Now, the ‘Automobilwoche’ publication reported, he had given his German division an additional six months. Last month, Elon Musik had not only criticized the German bureaucracy, but also the way ‘Frontal 21’, a magazine on ZDF television, had reported about the environmental issues. Back then, Tesla said it was fighting climate change by building electric cars, and the German regulations were slowing down projects of this kind. Even Brandenburg’s Environment Ministry rejected the criticism. Generally, Brandenburg’s government cannot wait for the factory to be operational, also because it will create thousands of jobs. It even created a Tesla Task Force which has helped the company.
‘Berlin Model Y’
For the ‘Gigafactory’, parts of a tree plantation were removed. Environmentalists had started protesting against the project early on. Tesla intends to build a ‘Berlin Model Y’ in Brandenburg, according to Elon Musk, who has visited the construction site at least twice, a few months ago. Thousands of workers from both Germany and neighboring Poland are supposed to be employed.
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