Tesla Berlin factory risks delay over environmental objections

Tesla ordered by German court to stop cutting down trees for Gigafactory

In this February 2, 2020 file photograph, the company logo sits on an unsold 2020 Model X at a Tesla dealership in Littleton, Colo.

The Higher Administrative Court for Berlin-Brandenburg ordered Tesla to stop clearing trees until the court can consider an environmental group's appeal. Shares of Tesla Inc. fell 4% in early trading Thursday, Feb. 13, after the electric vehicle and solar panel maker said it would sell more than $2 billion worth of additional shares.

However, according to the BBC, the German environment ministry said Tesla was welcome to start preparing the site at its own risk, which it did - clearing a whopping 225 acres of forest and chopping down thousands of trees growing there.

The factory will be designed with "sustainability and the environment in mind", Musk said last month on Twitter, adding Tesla will plant three new trees for every tree cut. But the environmental group Green League Brandenburg appealed, citing the potential for the factory to pollute the area's drinking water and other issues.

Tesla's factory near Berlin will manufacture both batteries and cars, starting with the upcoming Model Y SUV.

In a statement on Sunday, the court representing the Berlin and Brandenburg region cautioned: "It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding".

The dispute highlights the risks for the United States carmaker, which has not been officially granted permission to build the factory.

Workers have already scoured the equivalent of about 150 soccer fields of forest and removed most of the errant World War II ammunition found there.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the plans for the 300-hectare site in November a year ago, and Tesla says on its website it aims to begin production in 2021.

We all know what the 6-9 month delay might mean for Tesla, which is racing with time to keep the edge over the automotive industry in Europe, as well how much could be done over such a period (the Gigafactory 3 was built and is producing cars within a year).



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