Tesla is being accused of receiving preferential treatment from politicians in Germany who recognize the advancements the company has made in Europe’s transition to sustainable transportation.
Notable politicians, including Prime Minister of Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke and Economic Minister Jörg Steinbach, are catching heat from Brandenburg residents and green groups who believe the automaker is receiving special treatment.
It has been a tumultuous few weeks at Giga Berlin. Tesla has faced criminal charges from residents after piles driven into the ground without a permit caused an uprise. Tesla countered the initial issues regarding the piles by creating a new division to deal with permitting.
This was followed by claims that Tesla’s planned expansion of the plant may be met with roadblocks related to a shortage of water and electricity. Brandenburg Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke assured the automaker that the supply issues would be resolved and local government officials would find a fix.
But local residents and green groups cannot understand why. In a letter to Woidke today, NABU Brandenburg, Green League Brandenburg, and VNLB, three German environmental groups, questioned the treatment of Tesla, accusing the Prime Minister of giving the company treatment that “triggers horror and incomprehension among many people in Brandenburg and especially among members of the nature conservation associations.”
“Is your letter to Tesla a normal practice in Brandenburg? We want answers!” the groups write.
In the communication, the green groups state that Tesla “is one of the largest emitters of CO2 in Brandenburg.” The groups also cite that the clearing of forests, which made way for the factory, destroyed substantial populations of snakes and lizards that once occupied the area.
“How is this development compatible with the Brandenburg goals for climate, environmental, and species protection?”
Jörg Steinbach, Economic Minister of the area, recently went to Tesla’s Headquarters in Austin, Texas, to discuss the company’s needs for the expansion.
“It was important to give Tesla the reassurance of the ongoing support of the Brandenburg government for the potential extension of Giga 4 at Grünheide,” he said, speaking of the expansion project.
Steinbach has been a major proponent of Giga Berlin since its inception because of its surge in the local economy. Giga Berlin is already the largest industrial employer in the area, just one year after starting production, and due to this, the factory has already reached a run rate of 4,000 vehicles per week, and that’s well ahead of schedule.
Steinbach adamantly denies the narrative that Tesla is receiving anything preferential. It is a matter of seeing the project succeed, as it will benefit so many in the region.
“We are interested in the project succeeding,” he told Tagesspiegel. “Of course, that also applies to the expansion, just as it did back then for the settlement.”
As for special treatment, Steinbach said for Tesla, it doesn’t exist.
“There is no special treatment for Tesla,” he said.