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Tesla Faces Environmental Challenge In European Expansion

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tesla may have to cut down trees in a pine forest near Berlin where the U.S. electric vehicle maker plans to build its first factory in Europe, according to Electrek, in an ironic twist just after Elon Musk pledged to donate US$1 million for the planting of 1 million trees.

At the end of October, Musk said he would donate for the planting of 1 million trees in forests of need around the globe, and even used the “Treelon” Twitter handle for a few days.

Earlier this week, Musk announced with heart emoticons the colors of the German flag that Tesla has picked Berlin for its Gigafactory in Europe. The plant “Will build batteries, powertrains & vehicles, starting with Model Y,” Musk said, and later noted that ‘Berlin rocks.’

Announcing the decision, Musk said “Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure. That’s part of the reason why we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design center in Berlin, because Berlin has some of the best art in the world.”

The decision was not surprising - analysts had expected that Tesla would pick Germany for its European factory, although most had expected the location to be in the westernmost parts of Germany near the borders with Belgium or the Netherlands.

The land for the factory on the outskirts of Berlin is a 300-hectare plot in the municipality of Grünheide, and there is a pine forest in the area, according to German outlet Welt.

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Work on the Berlin Gigafactory is expected to begin in the spring of 2020 and production could potentially start in 2021, Welt says.

According to Electrek, a German official has confirmed that Tesla would help plant three times more trees than it would cut down in the pine forest to build the Gigafactory.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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