Tesla cuts German factory’s water needs in nod to local concerns

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BERLIN — Tesla Inc. revised construction plans for its first European car factory near Berlin, reacting to issues with the region’s sandy ground and concerns the project will use up too much water.

The new documents, filed this week, include provisions for new pile foundations needed for stability and a “significant” reduction in the plant’s water consumption, Brandenburg’s Environment Ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

CEO Elon Musk is pursuing an ambitious timetable by targeting mid-2021 for the factory to produce electric vehicles.

While German officials have assured Musk that his project will be fast-tracked through the country’s notorious bureaucracy, local groups had complained that the plant will need too much water in a region already suffering from increasingly frequent droughts.

When complete, the factory is expected to employ up to 12,000 people and churn out batteries, powertrains and vehicles, including the Model Y crossover, the Model 3 sedan and future models, according to company filings.

Tesla is moving into Germany’s heartland to vie with Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz as the country targets a massive increase in electric-car sales.

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Saurabh Shukla

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