Tesla has defeated “tree pirates” and resumed plowing down a forest in Germany

Trees in the way of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Germany.
Trees in the way of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Germany.
Image: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse
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Despite environmental protests, Tesla, with its eco-friendly credentials and solar-loving CEO Elon Musk, was given clearance this week to plow down a forest near Berlin for its next Gigafactory. Yesterday we learned that the tree removal is proceeding nicely.

In November, the electric-car maker announced plans to build a Gigafactory in Gruenheide in the eastern state of Brandenburg that surrounds Berlin. It would bring 12,000 jobs and was lauded as a vote of confidence in Germany.

But hundreds of demonstrators protested over what they say is a threat to the local environment, eventually getting a temporary halt to the project. This week, a court rejected environmentalists’ efforts to stop the land clearing, with a ruling that was final.

Yesterday, activists calling themselves the “tree pirates” (motto: “Up with the trees, down with capitalism”) said it had been occupying the forest to prevent the US company from following through with its plans.

While Tesla states on its website that it’s “committed to improving the natural environment near the factory” and aims to “replant an area three times the factory plot,” the environmental group seemed unsatisfied, saying in a statement yesterday, “The factory is here mainly to build sports utility vehicles. Snob cars which kill people.”

As Tesla continues to expand its fleet of electric cars, this will be its first European car and battery factory. It has other large production facilities in California and China.