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ENVIRONMENT

Tesla founder Elon Musk reveals new ‘Giga Berlin’ factory design

Technology entrepreneur, investor, and engineer Elon Musk has revealed an artist's impression of how his new Tesla site near Berlin might look – and shared his ideas for a rave and swimming pool.

Tesla founder Elon Musk reveals new 'Giga Berlin' factory design
The site where the factory will be. Photo: DPA

Tesla is getting to work on a huge factory in the Brandenburg countryside just outside the German capital and it is scheduled to be ready sometime next year.

On Wednesday Tesla co-founder Musk, who's known for broadcasting his thoughts and ideas on Twitter, tweeted a picture to his nearly 37 million followers. He shared the artists' impression of the Gigafactory with the caption: “Giga Berlin”.

And, as Musk's photo shows, it doesn't look all that shabby.


According to Musk, the roof will be equipped with solar panels. And the factory may have another special feature: a dance floor for ravers – “Possibly indoors and outdoors,” Musk wrote.

Tesla factory with swimming pool on the roof?

When asked by a user whether there will be a swimming pool on the roof, Musk answered briefly but clearly: “Sure,” he said.

We'll see soon enough if he's being serious.

Tesla's Berlin-Brandenburg Giga Factory was announced in November 2019 as part of the company's plan to increase its presence in Europe. It's located in the municipality of Grünheide, south east of Berlin. 

The new factory should become operational in 2021, initially focusing on Model Y production. Tesla says it expects the Gigafactory to produce 10,000 vehicles per week and employ up to 12,000 people in this first phase of operation.

READ ALSO: New Tesla factory near Berlin to create thousands of jobs

The fact that Musk is sharing a picture right now is probably not by chance. Tesla can now start building the foundation for the building – even though the complete environmental permit is still pending.


Elon Musk during an awards show in Germany in November 2019. Photo: DPA

The Brandenburg State Environmental Agency has given the green light for the approval of an early start of foundation and foundation works, the Ministry of the Environment announced in Potsdam. Tesla must comply with regulations, including regarding water protection.

Construction work had to briefly stop in February after an environmental group raised warnings.

The Berlin construction will be Tesla's fourth Gigafactory after New York, Nevada, and Shanghai. 

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ENVIRONMENT

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction

Campaigners began a legal challenge against five German regions on Monday to force them to take stronger action on climate change, emboldened by a landmark recent court ruling in favour of environmental protection.

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction
Demonstrators from the Fridays for Future movement protest in Gießen, Hesse, with a sign saying "No wishy-washy, no climate lashing". Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The plaintiffs are basing their case on a sensational verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in April which found that Germany’s plans to curb CO2 emissions were insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In a major win for activists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government then brought forward its date for carbon neutrality by five years to 2045, and raised its 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions.

READ ALSO: 

On Monday, 16 children and young adults began proceedings against the regions of Hesse, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, with support of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH).

They are charging that none of the states targeted by the legal action have passed sufficiently strong climate legislation at the local level, according to DUH.

“The federal government can’t succeed on its own,” lead lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press conference, highlighting state competence in the area of transport.

DUH worked closely together with the youth climate movement Fridays For Future to find activists willing to front the challenges, the group said.

Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Alena Hochstadt said the western state of Hesse, known for its Frankfurt banking hub, had always been her home but she feared having “no future here”.

Concern about the risk of “floods, storms and droughts” led her and other campaigners to seek “a legal basis for binding climate protection”.

READ ALSO: Climate change made German floods ‘more likely and more intense’

Hesse’s ministers for climate and the economy said they were “surprised” by the announcement.

“DUH clearly has not yet understood that we in Hesse are well ahead,” Priska Hinz and Tarek Al-Wazir said in a joint statement, drawing attention to an energy future law from 2012, before the Paris climate agreement.

In July, DUH-supported activists took the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg to court on similar grounds.

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