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Tesla seeks permission to double its gigafactory near Berlin

If Tesla's plans are approved, the company's Berlin gigafactory would become the largest car plant in Europe. Image: Tesla

Tesla has approached authorities in Germany to double its gigafactory near Berlin as the company seeks to build the largest car factory in Europe.

The company is eying 1 million cars per year and 100 gigawatt hours of battery production at the plant, eclipsing Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters, which has a capacity of 800,000 vehicles but manufactures half that number.

Documents filed with local environment ministry and water authority, published on Wednesday, indicate three phases of modifications, but the first – the construction of a battery cell testing lab and extending water recycling – could become operational by June next year. Other changes include extensions or alterations to existing functions such as the press shop and paint shop, and the construction of a new material storage facility.

The expansion plans have run into delays because of objections by local citizens, who have voiced concerns over the plant's environmental impact and water usage.

Tesla has committed not to use additional water and is betting on recycling its existing used water. The company on Tuesday held a question-and-answer session to assuage local concerns.

Tesla has said its plant at Berlin is the company's most sustainable and efficient facility. The facility is used to manufacture the company's Model Y, the world's biggest selling car in the first quarter of this year. It wasn't immediately clear what the expanded manufacturing capacity will be used for.

Tesla last week built its first Cybertruck, an EV pickup model that arrived after a two-year delay that CEO Elon Musk blamed on a shortage of components. 

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Author : Mandar Bakre
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