Tesla, the U.S. car manufacturer, has agreed to buy a property in Grünheide (Oder-Spree), on the outskirts of Berlin, bringing it a step closer to opening its first European factory.
The California company’s board of directors approved a purchase agreement with the state of Brandenburg on Saturday to acquire a 300-hectare property, according to government spokesman Florian Engels. The state parliament’s finance committee had already approved the sale on 9 January.
It has been said that Tesla has paid just under €41 million for the site. This has not been confirmed as another independent report is pending. The area, designated as an industrial zone, is currently being examined for weapon remnants left behind by the Second World War.
Tesla aims to create 150,000 Model 3 and Y electric cars from the Grünheide factory, beginning in the summer of 2021 and has plans to expand manufacturing up to 500,000 vehicles a year.
Politicians, unions and industry groups welcomed the move by Tesla, which is expected to create up to 7,000 jobs in the eastern German state of Brandenburg.
However, the move has caused local residents and environmentalists to protest. Around 200 people from the community joined a demonstration on Saturday, according to police – double the expected number.
In contrast, around 40 pro-Tesla residents made their feelings known, waving banners that read “Elon, I want a car from you” and “Innovate instead of blocking.” It was reported that some supporters of the move arrived in their Tesla vehicles!