Tesla Is Clearing a Forest Outside Berlin for Its First European Gigafactory

Tesla Is Clearing a Forest Outside Berlin for Its First European Gigafactory

Image Credit: Artist rendering, Gigafactory. Image courtesy of Tesla

Tesla is having a banner year, and we’re not even two months in. After reaching what was an all-time high in December at a value of $393.15 per share, last Wednesday the company’s stock closed at more than double that: $917.42 per share.

While its car sales are strong, they’re not the source of Tesla’s skyrocketing value; people are investing in the company because they see it as the future of electric vehicles. After clearing a legal hurdle last week, Tesla is set for more growth, and in a brand-new market: Europe. Germany, to be specific.

CEO Elon Musk announced plans last November to build a fourth Gigafactory outside Berlin (the first three are in Nevada, New York, and Shanghai). But construction involves cutting down a pine forest the size of 100 soccer fields (not to mention removing buried World War II ammunition), and work was halted after local environmental groups protested. On top of having to cut down thousands of trees, the factory will border a nature reserve, and there’s been much concern raised about how the area’s water supply and wildlife will be impacted.

A Berlin-Brandenburg court stopped Tesla’s forest-clearing with an injunction earlier this month, but last Thursday overturned the injunction and granted the company permission to resume activity, finding that the legal requirements for early construction had been met.

The factory will be located in Gruenheide, a small town about 33 kilometers (20 miles) south-east of Berlin. Tesla intends to have the plant completed and fully functional by mid-2021, and will eventually produce up to 500,000 cars a year there. Though it’s moving forward with land-clearing and other construction preparations, the company technically doesn’t have final project approval from German authorities. Tesla has projected that the factory will employ about 12,000 people.

Getting the state government’s approval is just one of a few hurdles left to clear, and in fact may be more straightforward than the other tasks awaiting Tesla as it builds this factory.

German environmental laws dictate that construction must not interfere with the breeding period for wildlife, which starts in March; this essentially means that for the project to move forward on its planned timetable, tree-cutting would need to be completed in the next couple weeks.

Speaking of protecting wildlife, Tesla will also have to provide bats living in the forest with alternative spots to hibernate, put up fences to prevent reptiles from entering the area, relocate ant nests without destroying them, and find a way to ‘humanely expel’ any wolves living in the area.

In a tweet from January 24, Musk emphasized that the factory “will absolutely be designed with sustainability and the environment in mind.” He added that Tesla will plant three trees for every tree it cuts down in the area.

Home to iconic brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Volkswagen, German car manufacturing has been disrupted by companies that got an earlier and stronger start in electric vehicle technology—specifically, Tesla. The company’s Model 3 outsold all German competitors in both the US and European markets last year, and Germany’s auto industry is now at a 22-year low.

The arrival of Tesla will, in the best-case scenario for German automakers, spur innovation through competition and encourage more private-sector investment. The Germans may not be leaders in electrification, but they certainly have a reputation for high-quality engineering. They would do well to follow in Tesla’s footsteps and start investing in energy storage technology and research; perhaps this could be the path to a rejuvenated German auto industry and economy.

But first, let’s make sure those bats, wolves, lizards, birds, and ants are taken care of.

This Article Originally Appeared On Singularity Hub

books_technology

enafarzh-CNzh-TWdanltlfifrdeiwhihuiditjakomsnofaplptruesswsvthtrukurvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

LATEST VIDEOS

Talking About Energy Change Could Break The Climate impasse
Talking About Energy Change Could Break The Climate Impasse
by InnerSelf Staff
Everyone has energy stories, whether they’re about a relative working on an oil rig, a parent teaching a child to turn…
Crops Could Face Double Trouble From Insects And A Warming Climate
Crops Could Face Double Trouble From Insects And A Warming Climate
by Gregg Howe and Nathan Havko
For millennia, insects and the plants they feed on have been engaged in a co-evolutionary battle: to eat or not be…
To Reach Zero Emissions Government Must Address Hurdles Putting People Off Electric Cars
To Reach Zero Emissions Government Must Address Hurdles Putting People Off Electric Cars
by Swapnesh Masrani
Ambitious targets have been set by the UK and Scottish governments to become net-zero carbon economies by 2050 and 2045…
Spring Is Arriving Earlier Across The US, And That's Not Always Good News
Spring Is Arriving Earlier Across The US, And That's Not Always Good News
by Theresa Crimmins
Across much of the United States, a warming climate has advanced the arrival of spring. This year is no exception.
The Last Ice Age Tells Us Why We Need To Care About A 2℃ Change In Temperature
The Last Ice Age Tells Us Why We Need To Care About A 2℃ Change In Temperature
by Alan N Williams, et al
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that without a substantial decrease…
A Georgia Town Gets Half Of Its Electricity From President Jimmy Carter's Solar Farm
A Georgia Town Gets Half Of Its Electricity From President Jimmy Carter's Solar Farm
by Johnna Crider
Plains, Georgia, is a small town that is just south of Columbus, Macon, and Atlanta and north of Albany. It is the…
Majority of US Adults Believe Climate Change Is Most Important Issue Today
by American Psychological Association
As the effects of climate change become more evident, more than half of U.S. adults (56%) say climate change is the…
How These Three Financial Firms Could Change The Direction Of The Climate Crisis
How These Three Financial Firms Could Change The Direction Of The Climate Crisis
by Mangulina Jan Fichtner, et al
A silent revolution is happening in investing. It is a paradigm shift that will have a profound impact on corporations,…

LATEST ARTICLES

Heatwaves Too Hot And Wet For Human Life Are Here
Heatwaves Too Hot And Wet For Human Life Are Here Now
by Tim Radford
Lethal heatwaves carrying air turned too hot and wet to survive are a threat which has arrived, thanks to climate…
How Dangerous Is Low-level Radiation To Children?
How Dangerous Is Low-level Radiation To Children?
by Paul Brown
A rethink on the risks of low-level radiation would imperil the nuclear industry’s future − perhaps why there’s never…
What We Do Now Could Change Earth's Trajectory
What We Do Now Could Change Earth's Trajectory
by Pep Canadell, et al
The numbers of people cycling and walking in public spaces during COVID-19 has skyrocketed.
Marine Heatwaves Spell Trouble For Tropical Reef Fish — Even Before Corals Die
Marine Heatwaves Spell Trouble For Tropical Reef Fish — Even Before Corals Die
by Jennifer M.T. Magel and Julia K. Baum
Despite the many challenges facing the world’s oceans today, coral reefs remain strongholds of marine biodiversity.
Warnings of Worse-Than-Usual Hurricane Season Point to Trouble Ahead
Warnings of Worse-Than-Usual Hurricane Season Point to Trouble Ahead
by Eoin Higgins
Hurricane season is about to start and its risks will only grow and potentially compound any impacts from the pandemic.
Australia, It's Time To Talk About Our Water Emergency
Australia, It's Time To Talk About Our Water Emergency
by Quentin Grafton et al
There’s another climate change influence we must also face up to: increasingly scarce water on our continent.
Fossil Fuels Are Heading Down, But Not Yet Out
Fossil Fuels Are Heading Down, But Not Yet Out
by Kieran Cooke
Renewable energy is making rapid inroads into the market, but fossil fuels still wield enormous global influence.
Human Action Will Decide How Much Sea Levels Rise
Human Action Will Decide How Much Sea Levels Rise
by Tim Radford
Sea levels will go on rising, because of human action. By how much, though, depends on what humans do next.