German court says Tesla can fell trees at site of new plant

Daniel Fowler
February 25, 2020

Tesla Inc. said it had resumed tree cutting in Gruenheide, Germany so it can construct its first European vehicle and battery factory following moves by environmentalists to stop local deforestation. According to the court ruling, the company can resume the forest clearing process in the Gruenheide town in Germany, to continue its massive Gigafactory project for building the first EV assembly plant in Europe. As a reminder, Tesla plans to plant many more bushes to make up for the loss to this space; however, that was not legally related.

On Thursday, a local administrative court lifted an injunction that had prevented Tesla from clearing a 90-hectare (220-acre) area of forest. The new Gigafactory should become operational in 2021, initially focusing on Model Y production.

The California-based carmaker announced in November that it had made a decision to build its first European factory in the Berlin area. The court's decision was welcomed by Tesla. The company plans to eventually produce as many as 500,000 cars a year at the site, employing 12,000 people and posing a serious challenge to Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG. He stated that the factory will not affect water supply in the area, which borders a nature reserve. Tesla has already cut down two-thirds of the trees and should be able to fell the remainder in time.

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Tesla once again started cutting trees in Gruenheide, Germany on Friday, after a local court intervened and rejected a plea by environmentalists to stop local deforestation.

While the company has got preliminary approvals, it will need further backing from Brandenburg authorities. The regulation includes considering the breeding period of local wildlife in spring.

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