Tesla’s plan to build its first Gigafactory in Europe is back on track after a German court threw out a challenge by local environmental activists on Thursday.
Elon Musk’s electric-car startup is clearing 91 hectares of forest land outside Grünheide, a town east of Berlin, in preparation for building the assembly plant. Green League campaigners secured an injunction to temporarily halt the clearing last weekend, after accusing Tesla of skirting regulations to rush the project and arguing it could threaten the area’s drinking water.
Less than a week later, a Berlin-Brandenburg court has flashed the green light for Tesla to restart its bulldozers and declared its decision is “final.”
Tesla intends to offset the project’s environmental impact by planting trees covering three times the area of the factory plot. It plans to finish the factory’s first phase next year, employ up to 12,000 people and manufacture 500,000 cars annually. The company currently has Gigafactories in Nevada, New York, and Shanghai.
Musk capitalized on Tesla’s lofty stock price — it surged past $900 for the first time this month —to raise $2.3 billion in a stock offering this week. He’s likely to marshal those funds to build the German Gigafactory.