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Tesla EV gigafactory drives Germany’s latest climate justice struggle

(Climate Home News, 15 Mar 2024) Environmental groups in Germany are ramping up their opposition to a planned expansion of Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, the U.S. electric vehicle maker’s first manufacturing plant in Europe.

Earlier this week, the factory – which employs around 12,500 people and produces 1,000 EVs per day – was reconnected to the electricity grid after a costly power outage caused by a March 5 arson attack on a nearby pylon, claimed by far-left activists. 

 Now it faces protests from around 80 climate campaigners belonging to the “Tesla Stoppen” (Stop Tesla) initiative who set up a camp in late February inside 100 hectares of state-owned forest land that Tesla wants to buy and clear for its expansion.  

Annika Fuchs, a mobility expert with German climate justice group Robin Wood, told Climate Home she and others occupying the Grünheide forest – who could face eviction from Friday onwards – support local residents’ rejection of the factory expansion in a February referendum.  

“We want to make sure that we reduce the amount of cars that we have here in Germany, and really focus on public transport as the solution for the future,” she added.  

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Climate Home News, 15 Mar 2024: Tesla EV gigafactory drives Germany’s latest climate justice struggle