Tesla and the State of Brandenburg are preparing for afforestation in lands surrounding the recently purchased lot where Gigafactory 4 will eventually stand.
Brandenburg BUND Conservation Officer Axel Heinzel-Berndt stated that Tesla officers have been contacted by environmentalists several times since the company has started removing trees from a portion of its €40.91 million, 300-hectare property.
The company has promised to replant three times as many trees as it knocks down in areas surrounding Gigafactory 4. However, Heinzel-Berndt says the task may be more difficult than the automaker thinks because the amount of land optimal for the growth of new trees is small.
“It will be difficult to find arable land on this scale. But it is also conceivable that, instead, species-poor pine forest is converted into mixed forest,’ he said in an interview with taz.de.
Tesla has also summoned the help of a local company to determine what type of trees would thrive in the areas they plan to replant. The company is looking for trees that would be suitable for endangered bats and sand lizards in the area. The electric car maker is planning to relocate the anthills of wood ants that inhabit the area as well.
Tesla began cutting trees down on 90 hectares of the property on January 6. The company must have the initial tree removal phase completed by February 27 because Brandenburg’s bird breeding season begins a few days later on March 1. Tesla’s Environmental Impact Report stated they were worried about the many different species of wildlife in the area and were mostly concerned about harming as few animals as possible.
Heinzel-Berndt himself supports Tesla’s presence in the country, as electric cars are better for the environment than internal combustion engines. While he is aware that the upcoming production plant is not popular with every citizen, he sees it as an opportunity to improve the environment and the earth and appreciates Tesla’s mission.
“Environmental and climate policy measures should be socially compatible. In this respect, you should not reject such an offer lightly. That is our current state of discussion,” he added.
Tesla has already started posting jobs for the German production facility and plans to hire as many as 8,000 employees when the factory hits its maximum production phase in a few years. Gigafactory 4 will begin producing the Model Y in July 2021 and the company plans to eventually build half-a-million cars a year at the complex.