Tesla’s board of directors has approved an agreement with the state of Brandenburg to buy a property in an industrial area on the outskirts of Berlin, bringing the company a step closer to opening its European Gigafactory. According to a Brandenburg government spokesman, Tesla will buy the 300-hectare property for a price of around 41 million euros ($45.36 million).
Prior to site preparation, a team combed the tract to make sure there are no unexploded bombs – a usual precaution in this part of Germany.
Local politicians, unions and civic boosters have welcomed Tesla, which is expected to create as many as 7,000 jobs in the area. Not everyone is on board, however – a group of around 250 residents staged a protest at the site, airing concerns about the factory’s effects on the local water supply and wildlife.
Elon Musk subsequently responded to the protesters (as reported by Reuters). Tesla had said in planning documents that the factory would require 372 cubic meters of water per hour. “Sounds like we need to clear up a few things!” Musk tweeted. “Tesla won’t use this much net water on a daily basis. It’s possibly a rare peak usage case, but not an everyday event.”
Musk also said that only a small part of the forest on the property would be cut down to build the factory. “Also, this is not a natural forest – it was planted for use as cardboard.”