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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Green light for Tesla: Controversial factory expansion approved in Germany

Tesla has secured approval to expand its Gigafactory near Berlin, overcoming fierce opposition from environmentalists and residents. The local council in Grünheide voted in favor of the carmaker's plans on Thursday, paving the way for increased production capacity at the company's only European manufacturing facility.

The majority of 19 council representatives supported Tesla’s plans to expand the factory. Eleven councilors voted in favor of the expansion, six voted against it, and two abstained. Around 50 protesters gathered outside the local government building as the result was announced, according to local reports.

This decision comes after a tumultuous approval process. Residents voiced concerns about deforestation and the potential impact on water resources. Environmental activists staged protests, and a court ruling even protected a treehouse encampment near the factory. Tesla, however, countered by reducing the initial deforestation area and promising to address environmental concerns.

The expansion plans include the addition of a freight depot and logistics areas, aiming to streamline production and potentially boost Tesla's European electric vehicle output. The company expressed satisfaction with the council's vote, noting it was "extremely pleased" about the decision.

However, the controversy surrounding the expansion is far from over. Environmental groups have vowed to continue their protests, and the long-term impact on the surrounding environment remains to be seen.

“It's pretty disappointing,” Esther Kamm, spokesperson for the anti-Tesla protest group, Turn Off the Tap on Tesla (TDHA) said. “It was a bad decision today, and this makes things harder, but it's not the end of the story.”


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