Tesla Is Extending Plans For Giga Brandenburg

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Tesla is building the Giga Berlin factory without certain permits. This is required in order to build at the desired speed. There is the risk, though, of having to tear things down if permits are refused. That reduces Tesla’s negotiating power.

Before building permits can be issued, the environmental impact assessment report and labor safety issues have to be dealt with to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Little things like airbags and seatbelt tighteners use tiny explosive devices. Permitting for work with explosives takes more than a single application form and a stamp.

A large bunch of reports and applications is submitted to the Brandenburg offices to handle the different permitting processes. Just the first few added about 5,000 pages in PDF documents to my GF4 folder. I did not try to read most of it. I did find a nice map of the current part discussed, though.

Colored bottom left part is now being developed — just over a quarter of the total factory.

Luckily, there is a very condensed overview, shrinking most topics to a single line. Combining it with some data from the management overviews of those bigger documents, it becomes clear what is discussed.

The main building will be lower. Likely just below the treetops. Only the paint shop and stamping hall are higher. The casting part will be bigger. That is no surprise, due to the big casting machine needed for the single-cast rear part of the Model Y. Onsite production of plastics was removed from this first phase of the factory, as was battery pack assembly.

On a hunch, I would say that plastic processing is a permitting-intensive process. Leave it for a later date when you are less time constrained. The battery production and assembly in Giga Nevada is being increased in preparation of the Cybertruck and Semi. It can supply Giga Brandenburg (Giga Berlin) in this phase of production in Germany, leaving more time to design the next-level battery production and assembly we are expecting from Tesla in the future.

The water consumption and treatment will be lower than originally budgeted. Increased production efficiency and recycling of the water means less need to pump water from the groundwater reserves. This was one of the concerns of the local population.

Added are: the building of a factory fire station, a power station and switchyard, and a hazardous compounds warehouse. The railroad crossing the Tesla compound is moved to the border of the Tesla terrain. The plans for the type of foundation are updated, no longer dozens of pile drivers like in Shanghai but big concrete blocks to put the pillars on.

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Some functions changed, like building the electric motors in separate buildings. This looks like lessons learned from Shanghai. We see in our weekly drone coverage a dozen separate buildings being built, not a single large megastructure like in Nevada.

Besides previous Phases 1a and 1b, there is a new building phase 1c covering 39ha.

Overall, there is more attention to mitigating the impact of smell, sound, waste, raw materials, and other influences on the environment.

The plans and the reactions to them by stakeholders will be discussed at public meetings in September. Only after the environment and labor safety concerns are met can requests for building permits be submitted.

The current permitting round is for about a quarter of the future factory complex, as is shown on the map, which resolves some confusion in recent reporting on the project. Both the numbers of 500,000 and 750,000 electric vehicles were previously mentioned regarding this factory. The production of the Model Y would start first, and Model 3 will be later. In this document, only the first 500,000 Model Y production volume is mentioned. There will likely be plans for 250,000 units of Model 3 production in a later phase of Giga Brandenburg.

In summary, with more detail on the plans, there are two functions (plastics and battery assembly) removed and 4 buildings added. That is the famous function creep of projects — they grow.

Start of production is still July 2021 in these documents.

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Maarten Vinkhuyzen

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric.

Maarten Vinkhuyzen has 280 posts and counting. See all posts by Maarten Vinkhuyzen