Tesla's New Factory Delayed By Hibernating Snakes

Electric Vehicles / 26 Comments

Even a court order has been issued.

This isn't the dire situation from "Snakes on a Plane" but a certain species of the legless reptile has managed to halt construction of Tesla's new Gigafactory near Berlin, Germany because they're all hibernating. In other words, sleeping snakes are causing a delay for the world's most valuable automaker. A German court has ordered the EV automaker to suspend efforts to clear a forest on the site of where the completed factory will be based following an appeal by environmentalists, according to Reuters.

"The Landesumweltamt (state environmental authority) and Tesla will now be consulted, they need to make submissions by this afternoon and then we assess the situation," a spokesman for a German court said. Both Tesla and the Landesumweltamt made no comment.

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Local environmental activists are concerned the snakes, known as Coronella austriaca, could be hibernating in the ground of the building site. The required tree-cutting will supposedly wake them prematurely from their winter slumber. The environmental authority is examining a second complaint from the group claiming the building site could also put at risk a species of sand lizard.

Tesla previously faced stiff opposition from local residents and environmentalists but managed to ease their concerns last October with several promises, such as agreeing to cut water consumption to prevent draining local water resources. Until a solution to the snakes and lizards can be found, Tesla's new factory intended to serve as a hub for European production has been put in a state of limbo.


However, we doubt this will last for long. Upon completion, the factory will produce the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y for Europe, a market the automaker is keen to dominate in the EV realm. Having its vehicles built in Germany also brings additional prestige because the "Made in Germany" label is highly favored amongst consumers. Tesla will also be able to avoid exporting those vehicles from outside the continent as it's currently doing.

The original plan was to get the Berlin factory up and running as soon as possible with the Shanghai Gigafactory's 11-month construction from start to finish serving as the example.

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