Report: Tesla scaling down plans for German Gigafactory, cutting batteries out

Tesla’s planned Giga Berlin factory may soon get downgraded to Mega Berlin.

The automaker is scaling down the German factory, pulling back from plans to manufacture batteries onsite, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing revised planning documents for the factory.

The changes would also eliminate production of plastic components, and would lower the height of most of the main building by about 29 feet, to 50 feet, according to the report.

Located in the town of Grueneide, near Berlin, the factory will still have a production capacity of 100,000 cars per year, the report said.

Tesla announced the facility in November, with the Model Y as the first planned vehicle. Construction has run into some hurdles along the way, but by German standards it’s been on a much-accelerated timeline.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y

While German officials reportedly assured Tesla that the project would be fast-tracked through the country’s notorious bureaucracy, the automaker has encountered resistance from local environmental groups.

Tesla was initially granted permission to start work at the site at its own risk, with the understanding that a number of final approvals hadn’t been issued. Environmentalists then won a court injunction to halt construction over potential damage from forest clearing.

Environmental groups have also said the factory will need too much water, in a region suffering from increasingly frequent droughts, Bloomberg reported. The site’s sandy ground and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have also slowed construction.

Tesla turned a corner in 2019 by opening its Shanghai Gigafactory and announcing a series of expansion plans, marking the first concrete steps toward a truly global manufacturing presence.

In April, CEO Elon Musk said the company was moving its headquarters out of California. The company also continues to home in on Austin, Texas, for a future Gigafactory (or possibly Terafactory) that would build the Model Y and Cybertruck.

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