Local Residents File Complaints Over Tesla's Berlin Plant

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【Summary】The electric automaker is facing backlash from local Berlin residents who have filed hundreds of complaints ranging from noise pollution to water usage.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Nov 03, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Local Residents File Complaints Over Tesla's Berlin Plant

Tesla has an incredible foothold on the electric market in the United States. In roughly 17 years, Tesla has gone from being a startup to being the leader in the electric car scene, out-doing every single traditional automaker. While Tesla sells vehicles in other markets, it's not nearly as popular as it is in America. The automaker's looking to change that in Europe by opening up a Gigafactory in Berlin. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like residents are happy with the automaker's plans.

Massive Backlash From Locals

According to a report by Bloomberg, Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory, which will become the automaker's first European car factory has received backlash from local residents. The outlet claims that hundreds of complaints have been filed, ranging from noise pollution to water usage. Authorities in the state of Brandenburg, claims Bloomberg, have received approximately 400 objections to Tesla's Gigafacotry. The three main things the objections center around include scarce water resources, an increase in truck traffic, and the hundreds of trees that have to be cleared to clear a space for the factory.

"My concerns are manifold," said a local resident outside of a town hall hearing. "The problem is that the end result of the proceedings, a green light for Tesla, looks like it's already predetermined."

The hearing started this Wednesday and is expected to go until Friday. At the beginning of the hearing, participants voiced concerns over the lack of a live stream, while another demanded that Ulrich Stock, the hearing's chairman and an official from the state's environmental office, step down because of an alleged bias, reports Bloomberg. The request was turned down.

Tesla Gigafactory Nearly Complete

Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory is expected to start production in the summer of 2021 and is a major part of the automaker's plans to expand in Europe. The recent hearing is one of the prerequisites for final approval, though German officials have, in Bloomberg's words, have repeatedly expressed that they're behind the project. Elon Musk visited the site earlier this month and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier promised the CEO that he would receive "whatever assistance is needed to get the facility up and running."

For a program that's not supposed to be final, it certainly sounds like it is inevitable. As the outlet points out, Tesla has made quite a lot of progress toward completing the plant. If the Gigafactory doesn't receive final approval, it would have to dismantle all of its work. That, though, doesn't seem likely, as Tesla clearly has the backing of high-level officials.

Of the main concerns residents have been voicing, water seems to be the largest concern with locals. The region the Gigafactory is located has been suffering from increasingly frequent droughts. The plant is expected to make the situation worse. Bloomberg claims that local utility Wasserverband Strausberg-Erkner gave Tesla's factory the green light after the automaker revised its plans to reduce the plant's water consumption. Still, consumer less water than previously envisioned is still putting extra stress on an area that's struggling because of water consumption.

As usual, Musk has taken to Twitter to voice his opinion on the matter, stating that the automaker will attempt to recycle as much as possible. It's in Musk's interest to get the Berlin Gigafactory up and running as quickly as possible if he wants Telsa to put up a real fight in Europe. Luckily for him, it looks like the factory will get official approval this December.

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