Tesla's German Gigafactory Is Facing Criminal Allegations From Environmentalists

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One of those charges involves digging for additional water.

Tesla's newly up-and-running Gigafactory outside of Berlin, Germany is facing yet another issue (aside from a labor shortage), this time from a local environmental group that's filed criminal charges against the EV automaker. Per Electrek, the original report came from German publication Moz.de, which confirmed the Association for Nature and Landscape in Brandenburg has filed three criminal charges with the Frankfurt public prosecutor's office. Two of those charges are against Tesla.

The first one involves the automaker driving foundation piles that could affect groundwater, resulting in contamination. We previously reported on this issue back in December when Tesla began drilling for additional water sources as part of the plant's expansion.


Tesla is aiming to increase Model Y and Model 3 production in Germany, which currently stands at around 500,000 units yearly. Even though Tesla offered to pay to explore for additional water, environmental groups were still adamantly opposed to the idea.

The second charge Tesla is facing has to do with beginning construction of the "Tesla-Sud" work shuttle station project at the Gigafactory prior to actually receiving a construction permit.

The third charge is actually against the first deputy of the Oder-Spree district and head of the Department III Construction, Order, and Environment. This individual, Sascha Gehm, is being accused of "a lack of supervision and control" over Tesla's expansion plans.


At this stage, the prosecutor's office has not yet decided whether or not to pursue these allegations but the one where Tesla should be somewhat concerned is over water. The environmental group is not the only outside entity that's expressed concern over the matter.

The local water association, Strausberg-Erkner, has also been worried about potential contamination. It's hard to tell at this stage whether the prosecutor's office will seriously pursue any of these charges since the automaker has received major support from local politicians and other civil servants.

But, the law is the law, and prosecutors must determine if Tesla violated it. Even if there are eventual charges, especially pertaining to the water issue, Tesla will probably find a way to strike a deal with prosecutors in order to meet its production goals.

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