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Ssslow down! Sleeping snakes stall Tesla's German gigafactory

Stock MarketsDec 08, 2020 06:42AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Townhall meeting in Erkner 2/2

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Hibernating snakes are complicating Elon Musk's plans for a gigafactory near Berlin.

A German court has told the U.S. billionaire's electric vehicle company Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to suspend clearing of a forest at the site of the proposed factory after environmentalists said that cutting down more trees could endanger hibernating snakes.

"The Landesumweltamt (state environmental authority) and Tesla will now be consulted, they need to make submissions by this afternoon and then we assess the situation," a spokesman for the administrative court in Frankfurt an der Oder in eastern Germany said on Tuesday.

Tesla declined to comment. The Landesumweltamt declined to comment further.

The carmaker announced plans late last year to build its first European factory and design centre in Gruenheide, outside Berlin, with plans to have it up and running by July 1, 2021 to start building its electric crossover, the Model Y sports utility vehicle.

Musk, who has transformed Tesla from start-up to the world's most valuable automaker in the space of 16 years, is used to moving fast. The company's Shanghai Gigafactory went from greenfield site to building cars in just 11 months.

The decision to locate the company's first European factory near Berlin gives the U.S. electric car pioneer the coveted "Made in Germany" label but it also means navigating local planning rules.

Tesla's permission to start construction hinges on a conditional approval by local authorities, who are obliged to consult environmental groups and the community.

The company has been engaged in an environmental audit, a time-consuming process in a country where attention to detail is prized.

Environmental activists from a local group, NABU, are concerned that the smooth snake, also known as Coronella austriaca, may be hibernating in the ground at the site, and that tree-cutting activity may disturb its winter slumber.

Local authorities are also reviewing claims by NABU that Lacerta agilis, also known as sand lizards, could be put at risk by Tesla's expansion, NABU said.

At the beginning of October, Tesla set aside three days to sound out locals and potential critics of the factory, but the consultation process lasted eight days and 414 complaints and observations were lodged.

Locals were concerned that the Gigafactory, especially once it started building battery cells, would be a drain on local water resources and wanted assurances from Tesla that consumption would be limited.

In response, Tesla agreed to cut water consumption to 1.4 million cubic meters, down from 3.3 million cubic meters.

Berlin's Tagesspiegel was first to report that Tesla has been ordered to suspend clearing of the forest.

Ssslow down! Sleeping snakes stall Tesla's German gigafactory
 

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Comments (5)
Dietmar Stahl
Dietmar Stahl Dec 08, 2020 8:47AM ET
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In Germany they will buy Etron and BMW i4 and Mercedes. Why buy Tesla with $195/hr Service fees.
Pc Kc
Pc Kc Dec 08, 2020 8:47AM ET
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Where'd you get the service fee from? There's no ice car like scheduled maintenance like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, VW and Porsche to cheat it's customers.
Ken Oldfield
Ken Oldfield Dec 08, 2020 8:47AM ET
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Are we therefor to assume you dont hold any Tesla stock? MB still looking at hybrid? Afraid that wont work.
Ernie Keebler
Ernie Keebler Dec 08, 2020 7:31AM ET
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I like Elon but his objective of producing greener electric cars while raping pristine ecologically balanced natural lands called greenfield construction, a misnomer, is not very green at all. He seems to be a person who thinks out of the box but evidently lacks that ability when siting factories, typical capitalistic tendencies that under value the natural habitat for the promise of cash
William Higgins
William Higgins Dec 08, 2020 7:31AM ET
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Well said.
James Theme
James Theme Dec 08, 2020 7:31AM ET
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retard https://electrek.co/2019/11/14/tesla-cut-down-forrest-build-gigafactory-4-elon-musk-plant-1-million-trees/
Pc Kc
Pc Kc Dec 08, 2020 7:31AM ET
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Those trees are planted for pulp. Not a natural woodland.
Ken Oldfield
Ken Oldfield Dec 08, 2020 7:03AM ET
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You cant have it both ways! Trees or jobs? Your choice Germany!
Moody Dude
MoodyKitty Dec 08, 2020 7:03AM ET
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We have enough jobs here, thanks. By the tone of your comment, I presume, you are another undereducated white US American guy, who probably cannot even show where Germany is on the worldmap. For your information: We are a very wealthy country with extremely low unemployment. One Silicon Valley corporate charlatan or less will make no difference in our lives. Cheers.
Ken Oldfield
Ken Oldfield Dec 08, 2020 7:03AM ET
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Rather rude and tasteless. Im Canadian. If you dont want Tesla type companies tell them up front.
Moody Dude
MoodyKitty Dec 08, 2020 7:03AM ET
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Ken Oldfield  EU welcomes any enterprise that follows integrity, and environmental rules that apply to everyone/every business here. We don't tend to make exceptions for any rockte messiah, or any whatever type company. Again, questioning the sense of any rule is absolutely fine, and many times even necessary, but expecting exception just because, isn't.
Mirza Shahan
Mirza Shahan Dec 08, 2020 4:15AM ET
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I think a car made in Germant would actually take the manufacturing status of Tesla to new heights as Germant subconsciously is always associated with high end auto manufacturing, something that Tesla lacks being made in USA. a car made in Germany could psychologically make many put Tesla side by side to mercs Audi bmw and Porsche. Not saying Tesla is inferior to them but these German auto makers have a legacy that Tesla lacks and by being made in Germany Tesla can finally take the goodwill of German craftsmanship and image. just an opinion :)
Jörg Holl
Jörg Holl Dec 08, 2020 3:53AM ET
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I'm very reluctant to criticize a genius like Elon Musk. But was building a factory in Germany the right decision?
Guy Follong
Guy Follong Dec 08, 2020 3:53AM ET
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absolutely, the chinees bilds have better Quality then the americans.Musk is clever as he knows he needs the top Quality machines made in Germany who bild the machines he need for production.
Nison Kay
Nison Kay Dec 08, 2020 3:53AM ET
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hahaha genius. he is very good at hiring the right people, having the right financial backing and vision. but genius far from it.
 
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