Tesla’s ambitious Germany factory expansion plan has met with local opposition, as residents voted against the proposed project in a non-binding referendum.

The factory, located in Grünheide, Brandenburg, aimed to add a rail freight depot and storage facilities. These additions were planned to reduce Tesla’s dependence on external logistics and prevent production delays due to parts shortages.

Residents in Grünheide expressed their disapproval of the project. The vote result prompted Tesla and local authorities to revisit their plans. The mayor of Grünheide, Arne Christiani, acknowledged the public sentiment, indicating that they would have to “return to the drawing board,”.

“I am annoyed that it has not been possible to show people that very important infrastructure projects are part of this development plan,” the Mayor told public broadcaster RBB, blaming the vote result on local reporting, which “tended to be negative over the past year.”

Opposition to large-scale manufacturing projects is not uncommon in Germany. This resistance is often driven by concerns about environmental impact and changes to local lifestyles.

Now What?

Tesla’s Giga Berlin is the company’s first manufacturing location in Europe, and the firm describes it as their most advanced, sustainable, and efficient facility yet on their website. Despite the recent setback, Tesla expects to begin expansions in the first half of 2024.

Currently, Tesla is approved for the production of 500,000 electric vehicles per year at the plant. After the significant expansion, they’re aiming to produce 1 million cars and 100 GWh of battery production annually.

Tesla Germany Factory Expansion

Image Source: Electrek
Image Description: New plans for Tesla Gigafactory Berlin


The non-binding nature of the vote means that it does not legally prevent Tesla from proceeding with the expansion. However, it does reflect public sentiment, which could influence future decision-making processes.

Tesla continues to be a leading brand in Europe, amidst growing competition and an increase in battery electric vehicle sales, which rose by 29% year over year in January.

Germany and France are the largest markets for electric vehicles in the region, with Tesla making up 1.7% of Europe’s total passenger car market in January, covering electric, hybrid, and internal combustion engine models.

While the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to rise, companies must navigate complex regulatory environments and address environmental and social concerns to ensure sustainable growth.

Image Source: ArenaEV