Tesla criticizes approval process for factory outside Berlin

Tesla has slammed the lengthy approval process for the factory the US electric car manufacturer is building outside the German capital Berlin.

In a legal brief issued on April 7 that became public on Thursday, Tesla argued that the factory would help combat global warming by promoting e-mobility.

But the long German approval framework stood in direct contrast to the urgency of planning and implementing such projects which are needed to combat climate change, the manufacturer asserted.

It was “particularly irritating” for Tesla that 16 months after it filed its application, there is still no schedule for issuing a final approval.

The “most glaring problem,” Tesla argued, is that in current procedures and laws, projects that fight climate change and those that accelerate it are treated equally.

Tesla proposed several measures to speed up the approval process, including fast-tracking environmentally friendly projects.

Authorities in the state of Brandenburg, where the factory site is located, were sceptical about the proposal.

The state government said while approval procedures should be sped up “where appropriate,” there could be no legal distinction between “investments that are seemingly climate friendly or harmful, because the law is not divisible.”

Tesla is building a “gigafactory” in Gruenheide on the outskirts of Berlin.

Construction has so far proceeded thanks to temporary permits, as a final decision by the state of Brandenburg is still pending due to complaints by environmental groups and local residents. Critics warned of effects on the local drinking water supply and the resettlement of animals.

Tesla wants to start production in what would be its first European plant this summer and aims to eventually build 500,000 cars per year there.

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