Tesla’s electric vehicle plant in Grünheide is being expanded to include a battery cell factory. However, the company says the water consumption of the combined Gigafactory is not set to increase. According to a media report, this information was gleaned from the third application in the main approval process that Tesla is likely to submit to the state environmental agency this week.
As reported by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, the updated Tesla application in the current main approval procedure for the first expansion stage still provides for a maximum annual water consumption of 1.423 million cubic metres for the then-combined electric car and battery cell factory, which is as much as was previously estimated for the electric car plant alone.
This has to do with the new technology of the Tesla battery cells, which are part of the car body and are to be produced in a “dry process”.
The fact that this production process for the cathode is now used as a justification for lower water consumption or no increase in water consumption including battery production is somewhat surprising. It is one of the innovations with which Tesla wants to greatly reduce the costs for the batteries, which indicates that the process must have been part of the planning for the cell factory in Grünheide from the very beginning.
According to the German newspaper report, the new Tesla application for approval, which will then be followed by the third public consultation, is to be submitted to the Brandenburg State Environmental Agency this week. Despite the tight schedule, Tesla is firmly counting on the first electric vehicles rolling off the assembly line at Giga Berlin in 2021.
Despite the progress that seems to have been made, the water supply is likely to become an important issue in the main approval procedure and the public objections to it. Even though the 1.4 million cubic metres of water per year for the first expansion stage have already been secured, environmental associations have announced that they are preparing a legal challenge.
Back in April, Tesla announced new record deliveries of 184,800 electric cars during the first quarter of 2021. Q1 of any year is traditionally a slow quarter for car companies, and especially so during the pandemic, which makes the achievement even more remarkable.
From January to March 2021, Tesla delivered 184,800 electric cars to customers, including 182,780 Model 3 and Model Y and 2,020 Model S and Model X. The previous record quarter was Q4/2020 with 180,570 deliveries.