Even the most optimistic Tesla fans know Giga Grünheide is unlikely to start producing cars in July, as the company previously said it would. A new report from the German newspaper Handelsblatt says Tesla will have to submit new documents that will have to be discussed with the public again. That can make the factory only receive the final building permit by October.

According to the newspaper, the information came from Jörg Steinbach, minister of economic affairs of Brandenburg. He would have said to the economic committee of the Potsdam state parliament that “if it were to be the most complex form of interpretation, then we are at three months" of delay in the production schedule.

Tesla Giga Berlin (Gigafactory 4) Model Y factory interior (Tesla Q4 2020 report)

According to Steinbach, the issue is related to interpretation procedures described by German’s Federal Immission Control Act. That regulation establishes the duration of the display of documents for the public and the subsequent opportunity to submit comments.

Although Tesla claims Germany should speed up the process because it is “spreading e-mobility,” environmental concerns related to Giga Grünheide are a big chunk of the issues in the approval process. Residents of the area fear Tesla will pollute the groundwater table underneath it. Tesla also cut multiple trees and had its construction work stopped due to snakes and lizards that live nearby.

The other part of the delays relates to changes Tesla made to the original building plan. RBB24 said the company presented rough building plans, something the MLUK (Ministry of the Environment of the State of Brandenburg) denied. 

The fact is that Tesla made substantial changes to the project, reducing the water consumption – one of the residents’ concerns – but including the need to place 560 underground piles to make the factory's foundation. All of them invaded the groundwater table. That demanded a new public hearing and a second approval process. From what Handelsblatt writes, we’ll soon have a third one.

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