The German State of Brandenburg's Environment Agency has ordered Tesla to halt the installation of manufacturing equipment in the paint shop, along with its efforts clearing the tree farm at the Tesla Giga Berlin until a security deposit of $123 million (£100 million) is paid in full, according to the German media site Der Tagesspiegel.
German state orders halt of Tesla Giga Berlin's construction again
The Tesla Giga Berlin project seems to vacillate between "go" and "no-go." Recently, the company acquired permission to clear more of the tree farm, which was subsequently blocked, and now the company isn't allowed to install the paint shop.
The Tagesspiegel explains how Germany's approval for Tesla's construction project is contingent upon making a full security deposit for dismantling costs — just in case the project is ultimately be rejected, Inside EVs reports.
Tesla applied for extension, deadline moved to Jan. 4 2020
Crucially, Tesla is building this factory to its own financial risk — which means if German authorities don't give it final permission, the company will be obligated to replant the entire tree farm.
The deadline for the deposit was Dec. 17. Tesla had applied on Dec. 16, in hopes of extending the deadline to Jan. 15, but it was only extended to Jan. 4 of next year.
"As long as the money is not there, the two partial permits are suspended. This change happens in the middle of the ongoing proceedings before the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg (OVG) for the clearance of 82.2 hectares planned by Tesla, against which the Nature Protection Association and the Green League are suing," read the German media report.
Elon Musk left California, but his opinion of Germany remains unknown
This raises the question of why Tesla — one of the highest-valued firms in the world — wasn't able to pay the remaining $123 million deposit. Tesla's official reason claims the company needs more time to coordinate internal processes it couldn't complete in the few days since the notification of early approvals was sent.
It's not hard to see why a U.S.-based company might have problems building a factory in Germany. CEO Tesla Elon Musk seems on his way out of California, but his opinion on Germany has yet to be seen.