Elon Musk May Regret Putting Tesla’s First European Plant in Germany

Tesla recently outlined what will determine where the carmaker puts its next plant. Looking at the list, it’s easy to imagine Elon Musk wishes he had a do-over and didn’t put his first European factory in Germany.

The criteria relayed by Baird’s Ben Kallo includes “as little red tape as possible,” the analyst wrote in a Sept. 8 report. Tesla has experienced a good deal of this in Gruenheide, outside Berlin. It complained in April of last year about the “ irritating” process of getting final approval for the project. Musk’s dancing during the plant opening in March was a rare celebratory moment.

The facility — first announced in late 2019 — was delayed for months by legal challenges from environmental groups concerned the site would use too much water and threaten local wildlife. Weeks after production finally started, Musk referred to Tesla’s factories in Germany and Texas as “gigantic money furnaces” that were losing billions of dollars.

Now, more roadblocks are popping up. Last week, broadcaster RBB reported that authorities in Gruenheide had indefinitely postponed a vote on Tesla’s plan to expand the factory by around 100 hectares (247 acres) to add a freight yard and warehouse for stockpiling parts. At least part of the expansion would be into an environmentally protected area, and any plan to chop down more trees will surely run into stiff opposition.