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Tesla Giga Berlin Gets German Federal Government Support To Start Production

Jörg Steinbach, Brandenburg's economy minister, announced this week that the ruling of the administrative court in Frankfurt regarding the lawsuit filed for the water supply of the Eggersdorf hydraulic works, will not affect the process of approval for the starting of Tesla Giga Berlin production in Germany.

The first Tesla factory in Europe, Giga Berlin – Grunheide still has not received the final green light to start production in order to supply tens of thousands of European customers with the Model Y electric SUV.

While Giga Shanghai was built in one year and is now capable of making nearly half of all electric car production sold by Tesla worldwide, Giga Berlin has yet to receive final approval from the Brandenburg State Environment Office. One of the headaches for Tesla's legal team and its management, both in Europe and the USA, is due to the lawsuit filed by environmental associations back in December 2021. The fear is that it might end up threatening the volume production plans at Giga Berlin, given the fact that there is still a possibility that the approval process could be delayed once again. Environmental groups hostile to Tesla's Giga Factory, which changed their strategy in the face of judicial setbacks before, have become Giga Berlin's greatest enemy.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

This coalition of environmentalists sued the Brandenburg Environment Agency for approving further extraction of water from the Eggersdorf waterworks in 2020. According to statements by the head of the water association, Strausberg-Erkner, the Frankfurt court could eventually withdraw the right to draw water in Eggersdorf, thus affecting the water supply for Tesla Giga Berlin.

The current water supply (from Strausberg-Erkner) is sufficient for the first phase of a quarter million cars, but the second (to half a million cars) and third (to 3/4 million cars) phases need further water supply. Water purification is to be supplied by distillation and reverse osmosis. Additional facilities at Giga Berlin include a waste water treatment plant with a capacity of 252 m3/h, a central supply building, an area for in- and outgoing deliveries (rail and truck) as well as employee parking lots.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

But this week Minister Steinbach communicated to the economic committee of the state parliament that the water supply for Tesla Giga Berlin does not depend on the decision of the Frankfurt court. Eggersdorf waterworks draws around 3.8 million cubic meters of water from the ground each year. Giga Berlin's needs are about a third of that amount. In the application submitted by Tesla in 2020, it was projected that Giga Berlin would consume 3.3 million cubic meters of water per year. But in June 2021 Tesla reduced its anticipated water usage and reviewed its application again, so in its latest application Tesla estimated that Giga Berlin's annual water consumption would be 1,423 million cubic meters.

Some of the reasons for Tesla choosing the Berlin-Brandenburg area were that the industrial site is expandable, the state has the highest production of green power per citizen in Germany, and that there are highly qualified workers in the area. As we mentioned at the beginning, Tesla will be producing the Model Y and battery supplies at Giga Berlin.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.