Tesla’s Gigafactory in Germany won approval from local officials on Friday, but the company still has to meet several requirements before the plant can begin production of vehicles, Reuters reported, including concerns about the plant’s water use.
Construction on the factory, which is nearly complete, was delayed several times by complaints from environmental groups in the area who protested the factory’s water use and potential disruption to wildlife. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the Gigafactory will use “relatively little” water and has argued that the forest that was cleared before the plant’s construction was “not a natural forest” since it had only been planted to make cardboard.
Musk first announced in 2019 that Tesla would locate its European gigafactory — that he has called a “machine that builds the machine” — in Germany. The company said it aims to produce as many as 500,000 cars a year in Germany and have 12,000 employees at the plant. According to The New York Times, the plant is already assembling vehicle prototypes, but it’s still unknown when it will begin constructing its electric vehicles there.