County sues Tesla for placing test piles in the ground without appropriate approval

Tesla rammed test piles into the ground without the necessary permission for its factory project near Berlin. In the meantime, a permit has been issued – however, a lawsuit against the electric car manufacturer is ongoing.

Tesla Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg is a European manufacturing plant for Tesla, Inc. that is under construction in Grünheide, Germany – (photo by Tobias Lindh)

Tesla may face legal trouble because of unauthorized work on the site of its planned factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg – but not too much. The US electric car manufacturer had placed test piles in the ground two weeks ago, but had not yet had the appropriate approval. The Oder-Spree district has initiated proceedings to investigate an administrative offense, said spokesman Mario Behnke. As usual, the company would hear the central fine office on the allegations. “For Tesla, there are no other rules in this regard than for every citizen and every company.” The RBB had previously reported on the ongoing proceedings .

The placement of the piles served load tests on the site near Berlin. This test load was then stopped because the necessary approval from the lower water authority was missing. According to the district, this approval is now available. The district had no objection to this work, said the spokesman.

Tesla plans to manufacture around 500,000 electric cars there every year from 2021. The project has met with great criticism from conservationists. They fear negative consequences for the environment. Because an environmental permit in Brandenburg has not yet been completed, Tesla is preparing the construction at its own risk. So far, the clearing of around 90 hectares of forest, the leveling of the ground and foundation work have only been allowed this week .

According to the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment, more than 370 objections have been raised against the factory’s project over time . An appointment to discuss objections was initially canceled due to the corona crisis, a new appointment has not yet been set. Tesla wants to change its earlier application for approval according to the state government – for example, with a planned lower water consumption than initially stated.

The states of Berlin and Brandenburg hope for great development opportunities through the settlement. Together with the district of Oder-Spree and 13 cities, municipalities and offices, they signed an agreement on Thursday to create living space and clarify the transport links. Brandenburg’s Transport Minister Guido Beermann (CDU) said: “The cities and municipalities in the vicinity of the location face the challenge of developing attractive residential locations and an adequate supply infrastructure.” Berlin’s Senator for Urban Development, Katrin Lompscher (left), said that the project also offers great opportunities for Berlin.

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