The plans of the US electric car manufacturer Tesla to expand the site of the car factory in Grünheide near Berlin have cleared a first hurdle. According to the participants, the main committee of the municipality of Grünheide recommended that the municipal council initiate a procedure for a new development plan on Thursday.

The vote was extremely close with five votes to four. The municipal council will discuss this on June 23rd.

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According to the municipality, Tesla wants to build a freight depot, logistics areas, a service center for customers, a company daycare center and training rooms on the site.

Mayor Arne Christiani (independent) said that the logistics plans are about relieving the surrounding region. The application relates to a total of around 170 hectares, of which only around 100 hectares have not yet been planned, the rest overlap. Christiani assumes that the process for the so-called B plan will take at least a year.

In the first phase, Tesla wants to employ around 12,000 people and roll off the assembly line around 500,000 vehicles a year. Production is only ramped up gradually. A battery factory is still under construction.

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The current area is around 300 hectares. Brandenburg approved the car and battery factory in March. Environmentalists criticize that part of the area is in a water protection area, which prohibits the conversion of forest to another type of use.