According to a press release, the Potsdam State Office for the Environment (LfU) will give Tesla final approval for Giga Berlin in Grünheide (Germany). However, the completion of the environmental permit and the decision do not yet mean that Tesla can start production of the Model Y.
Further details of the approval notice are to be announced on Friday in Potsdam at a press conference, which will be attended, among others, by Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dietmar Woidke. However, this information fits earlier news, according to which the approval was in prospect for the end of this week.
Tesla had announced the factory in the fall of 2019 and since then has built it step by step based on preliminary permits – i.e. always with the risk of having to make everything back again in the event of a negative decision. Such an approach is possible under Section 8a of the Federal Immission Control Act if there is nothing “fundamentally against the approvability of the project,” according to the “Handelsblatt” – and precisely if the investor builds at his own risk.
The original plan was to start production in July 2021. At that time, however, on the one hand, the factory under construction was not yet too far along, and on the other hand, the approval process was far from complete. This had been delayed for several reasons – among other things because Tesla had expanded the plans to include a battery factory, some processes had to be repeated. Handelsblatt writes that not all “reservations about possible incidents and water consumption” have been cleared up. But these “apparently do not weigh so heavily that a further delay would have been justified.”
Tesla is currently already building up to 2,000 Model Y Performance on the basis of a pre-approval – but these vehicles may not be sold. However, with the permit now likely granted, Tesla cannot yet start mass production of cars ready for sale. For this, a separate operating permit is still necessary, for which Tesla must provide further evidence.
According to earlier information, it could take another few weeks from the granted approval to the operating permit. However, a report in the “Tagesspiegel” from the beginning of this week suggests that at least in the Brandenburg State Chancellery, people are confident that the operating permit can follow the final approval very soon: According to the newspaper, the official opening ceremony is planned for March 22 or 23. Then Elon Musk is to open the factory in front of 500 guests and probably hand over the first 30 customer vehicles.
In January, Tesla had confirmed that the first Model Y Performance from Grünheide would be delivered in March. After a corresponding change in the configurator, in which March was named as the expected delivery date for white and black Performance models, had already indicated such a step, Tesla confirmed the plan in an internal mail. If the current information about the opening is accurate, Tesla could keep the promise for March at least for a few customer vehicle