Elon Musk says Tesla’s “Gigafactory” outside Berlin will start pumping out electric cars as soon as November — even though the company still hasn’t received final approval from German authorities.
According to Bloomberg, Musk said on Saturday that the factory is set to start making the Tesla Model Y SUV in November or December.
But Tesla is still grappling with legal opposition and opposition from environmental groups and some locals, who argue that the factory will disrupt natural habitats for endangered animals and reduce local water supplies.
For Tesla to open the factory legally, the company needs to obtain official approval from the environment ministry in Brandenburg, where the plant is located, AFP reported.
A legal review process involving local residents is due to end on Thursday – but even so, the environment ministry has not provided a date for a final decision, according to the outlet.
In an apparent plan to woo residents of Grunheide, the Berlin suburb where the factory is located, Musk flew into the city for a weekend fair featuring electronic music, a Ferris wheel and vegetarian food trucks.
According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Tesla offered 9,000 locals a tour of the factory and free rides in Tesla.
If the factory is approved to open, Tesla says it will eventually pump out 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles per week.
The German factory case isn’t the first time Musk has clashed with government regulators. In 2020, he clashed with California officials over coronavirus restrictions at the Tesla plant in the state, calling the lockdown “fascist” and threatening to move Tesla’s headquarters to Texas.
Musk made it official this Thursday, revealing that Tesla will move its headquarters from Palo Alto to Austin. The company is also working on a gigafactory outside Austin.