Tesla has submitted its environmental application to expand Gigafactory Berlin to produce one million vehicles per year.
When ramping up a new vehicle to volume production at a new factory, Tesla generally considers 5,000 units per week to be the goal.
After starting production late in 2021, Tesla originally aimed to achieve that at Gigafactory Berlin by the end of 2022.
But the goal was ambitious amid a continuing global supply chain crisis.
Instead, Tesla announced that it finished the year with a respectable production rate of 3,000 Model Y vehicles per week at Gigafactory Berlin.
Last month, Tesla confirmed that the factory has managed to continue the ramp to 4,000 vehicles per week.
The automaker is expected to hit its goal of 5,000 units per week relatively soon.
In the meantime, it is already looking to expand its factory. Gigafactory Berlin is currently approved for a production capacity of 500,000 vehicles per year.
We now learn that Tesla has submitted its environmental application for the expansion, confirming that it aims to ramp up to one million units per year (translated from German via RBB):
According to Tesla, the application for partial approval that has now been submitted to the responsible State Office for the Environment (LfU) primarily relates to changes to the existing plant. It serves to further expand production on the factory premises. As a spokesman for the LfU announced, Tesla has applied for an increase in production capacity from the current 500,000 vehicles per year to one million vehicles per year in the future. The production facilities required for this are to be set up on the existing factory premises. However, the mark of 500,000 cars per year has not yet been reached.
Top comment by brucet
Thank you, Fred, for reporting the water use portion of the application more clearly than I have read elsewhere. You've made it clear that Tesla claims to be able to double capacity without exceeding the existing water use permit because they are currently using far less water than the amount for which they are permitted.
With the initial phase of the factory, Tesla faced a lot of pushback from environmental groups for a variety of reasons ranging from deforestation to water usage.
Lately, water usage has been the biggest concern, and Tesla made sure to address that in its application for expansion.
The automaker claims that it won’t need more fresh water than already approved thanks to its water reuse program:
Tesla has optimized planning and production processes in such a way that the amounts of fresh water previously used as a basis and contractually agreed are also sufficient for this expansion.
We expect the company to still have to battle with environmentalists for the expansion, but the automaker has strong support from local politicians, which should help move things forward.
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