Tesla’s planned expansion of its German production facility Giga Berlin faces roadblocks as the automaker will need more water and electricity for operation, which may be in short supply. However, officials are determined to find solutions to the problems.
Brandenburg Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke assured Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk that the unresolved supply issues will be solved, and the local government is committed to finding a fix.
Tesla has been such an overwhelming contributor to the economy in Brandenburg that officials are willing to do whatever it takes to assure the automaker that any issues will be met with solutions.
The company has 10,000 employees and 140 trainees, Woidke said, adding that “Tesla has become Brandenburg’s largest industrial employer in less than a year.”
Woidke said, “We are looking forward to the expansion with great anticipation,” according to a letter seen by German media outlet Moz.de, knowing that power and water are still potential issues for the planned expansion of the plant.
However, Woidke is not willing to take anything but solutions as an answer and assured Tesla that the government will remain “unchanged and as reliable as in the past” and that it would come up with solutions to support the automaker’s expansion before the Summer.
Woidke’s comments follow Economic Minister Jörg Steinbach’s meeting with Tesla brass in Texas. The two sides met earlier in March. Steinbach didn’t respond to Teslarati’s request for comment on the meeting, but it appears it was to assure the company that Brandenburg is committed to the company and the expansion of Giga Berlin.
“It was important to give Tesla the reassurance of the ongoing support of the Brandenburg government for the potential expansion,” Steinbach said in a Tweet.
THE RISKS: WATER AND ELECTRICITY
Water and electricity are the main barriers to the expansion, with water being the largest concern. Tesla, while consuming far less than the industry average, still regularly deals with pushback from local citizens and the Strausberg-Erkner water association (WSE).
The major concerns are what the factory’s water usage could potentially do to the supply for the entire region.
Tesla’s usage, which has undercut other comparable companies in Brandenburg, has caused the State Environment Agency to lift the requirement that the WSE must be involved in groundwater-related issues, a report from rbb24 said.
Political groups have also called for Tesla’s operation to be restricted and do not feel as if the company should be given preferential treatment, criticizing Woidke and Steinbach for the support they’ve given the company.
TESLA GIGA BERLIN EXPANSION
Tesla has already started preparing the land it plans to build on for an expansion of the factory. At least 170 acres will be cleared to make way for new buildings that would support annual production of between 500,000 and 1 million vehicles per year.
The increased production would likely help Tesla alleviate reliance on imports from Gigafactory Shanghai, which has sent vehicles to Europe to support demand.
Giga Berlin has not struggled with production, however, and recently reached a run rate of 4,000 vehicles per week, a goal that was hit well ahead of schedule.
Tesla still must wait for a vote from government officials to approve the expansion plans. It was scheduled for December but delayed with no new date set.