Opposition to Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory’ expansion plan – DW – 03/10/2024


Hundreds of environmental activists protested on Sunday against the expansion of electric car maker Tesla’s factory outside Berlin.

The demonstration in Grueneheide, on the outskirts of the German capital, came just days after a suspected arson attack on a power supply halted production at the Tesla Gigafactory.

Tesla’s proposal to expand an electric vehicle factory, including building a freight station, warehouses and a company kindergarten, has faced opposition from people who fear it would contaminate drinking water.

A part of the planned area of ​​expansion is in water conservation area.

Counter-protesters show their solidarity with Tesla Image: Odd Anderson/AFP

Local residents who support the expansion and see it as an essential part of the area’s future development also staged a small counter-demonstration.

Tesla plant will restart next week

Meanwhile, the head of Tesla’s works council told several hundred workers at the production site on Friday, “We will restart the factory next week.”

Activists calling themselves the Volcano Group said they vandalized the production on Tuesday, prompting an investigation.

A power pole near the plant caught fire, causing power outages at the factory and nearby towns.

Tesla’s German plant closed due to arson attack

Meanwhile, Germany’s Federal Network Agency, which is responsible for regulating energy and telecommunications infrastructure, joined calls for greater protections for the energy grid.

“This incident emphasizes the need for flexible energy supply structures in Germany,” a spokesperson for the network agency told dpa.

“The legislature is currently working on the requirements for protecting critical infrastructure, including physical threats. The aim is to further enhance the level of security,” he said.

protesters in the forest

In February, a majority of Grünheide residents voted against the expansion plans in a non-binding ballot. To make room for the site additions, approximately 100 hectares of forest will have to be cleared.

Tesla had announced further talks on this issue. The facility is the only factory in Europe operated by billionaire Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company.

A group of environmental activists, who had opposed the expansion and even occupied a forest near the factory two weeks ago, has distanced itself from the arson attack.

Police said on Sunday that they were keeping a close watch on the forest protesters.

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