A German court has granted Tesla permission to continue cutting down forest near Berlin for its first European car and battery factory, despite protests from environmental activists.
The court rejected multiple applications by environmental groups that looked to stop the land being cleared of trees, saying that its ruling was final in a statement yesterday, as reported by Autonews Europe.
The EV-maker announced plans for its Berlin factory back in November. The exact location is actually Gruenheide in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin. Tesla’s plans were initially lauded and interpreted as a vote of confidence in Germany.
However, lawmakers were then surprised by the strength of the opposition to the factory, with hundreds of demonstrators coming out against what they felt was a threat to local wildlife and water supplies.
Yet, Germany’s pro-business Christian Democrat and Free Democrat parties warned that legal battles against the factory could seriously damage the country’s image as a place to do business.
Tesla’s German factory will be tasked with building several models, starting with the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossovers – with more cars to follow. The factory will officially open in July of 2021 and will reportedly have the capacity to build 500,000 electric vehicles per year, while creating 10,000 new jobs. At first, the factory will focus on batteries, powertrains and vehicle assembly.
The U.S. carmaker is also planning on establishing an engineering and design center in Berlin, near the city’s new airport.