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Tesla Gigafactory Berlin expansion is on hold, awaiting approval

Tesla Gigafactory Berlin is seeing its expansion caught up in German bureaucracy once more as a vote to approve the project has been put on hold, but it still looks like the vote should happen by the end of the year.

The automaker’s experience building Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas simultaneously has set the tone for Tesla’s future factory projects.

The main takeaway is that the automaker wants an easier permitting process – something closer to what it experienced in Texas rather than in Germany, where Tesla saw several delays because of regulatory approval.

For a potential factory coming to Canada, Tesla has lobbied the government to help negotiate with provinces for a faster permitting process.

Tesla is currently ramping up production at Gigafactory Berlin from 1,000 vehicles per week to a goal of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year.

To support further expansion of the capacity, Tesla is planning to add constructions on 100 more hectares to build a freight depot, train station, training center, and a kindergarten, as well as more logistics areas to support production.

The expansion project was going to be presented to Grünheide, the city near Berlin where the Gigafactory is located, but Arne Christiani, mayor of Grünheide, confirmed that it was delayed.

Germany’s RBB confirmed (translated from German):

At the beginning of June, the Grünheide main committee approved the plans of the US electric car manufacturer to expand its factory premises and recommended that the local council initiate a procedure for a new development plan. However, Christiani took the item off the agenda shortly before the municipal council meeting. “There is still a need for clarification,” he said at the time. “This is the reason why the development plan is not on the agenda for the next meeting either,” Christiani explained on Wednesday. He could not estimate whether the topic will be dealt with this year.

Like with the original project, regulators often asked Tesla for more information, which created several delays in the approval.

It looks like a vote on the approval of the Tesla Gigafactory Berlin expansion is still expected to happen this year. It’s unclear at this point if it is going to impact Tesla’s timeline to ramp up production.

While Tesla is aiming for 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year, the automaker has much greater ambitions for the plant. It has previously said that it could produce up to 1 million vehicles per year at the factory.

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