Tesla has been ordered to stop work at the site of its proposed $4-billion Gigafactory in the German state of Brandenburg due to environmental concerns, according to reports.
The proposed factory was going to be Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Europe and its fourth in the world.
On Saturday, a German court reportedly ordered the luxury electric car maker to stop cutting down trees on the 300-hectare site for the new manufacturing plant until the court considers an appeal by environmental group Green League Brandenburg.
Green League has alleged that the factory could pollute the area’s drinking water, while other environmental activist groups have voiced concerns that the deforestation could threaten local wildlife.
However, Tesla says on its website that it plans to replant an area three times as large as the factory site.
Tesla has still not received permission to build the factory, but has been allowed to make site preparations at its own risk, according to reports.
In November 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had announced plans to build its next factory in Germany, which would be a “Gigafactory.” Musk also said Tesla was planning an engineering and design center near Berlin’s new airport.
Tesla plans to make its Model 3 electric sedans and the Model Y, a crossover SUV, at the German factory.
For years, Musk has talked about his plans for a European factory. Tesla, in 2016, acquired a German manufacturing and automation design firm, Grohmann Engineering, following which Musk suggested Germany would be the location for its first European factory.
Tesla has two other vehicle factories in the U.S. and one in China. The multi-billion dollar Gigafactory in Shanghai is Tesla’s first outside the U.S. Construction of the plant began in January 2019 and production commenced in October.
Tesla delivered its first set of cars built in the Chinese factory in late December 2019.
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