Berlin – This time it’s no real surprise. So far, Elon Musk, the head of the US electric car manufacturer Tesla, has always come to East Brandenburg without prior notice. There he has his fourth “Gigafactory” built worldwide so that he can supply the entire European market from there. A folk festival is to take place on the company premises on Saturday – and in advance it was said that the bustling billionaire would be there. Musk fans will be happy. And he has a lot of fans. The website, on which tickets could be pre-ordered for the event, was quickly closed again.
There aren’t too many details about the festival to be learned from Tesla. But the group has succeeded in organizing a party in which almost twice as many guests are allowed to participate than are otherwise allowed in Brandenburg due to the corona requirements. Tesla is allowed to let 9,000 guests on the premises at the same time.
Police see a challenge on arrival
For an event with up to 5000 guests, the municipality would be responsible for the approval. “If there should be more, there is the possibility of a special permit,” said Mario Behnke, spokesman for the Oder-Spree district administration, the Berliner Zeitung. The district’s health department is responsible for this. “That gave permission,” he said.
The police will also be there. “We are preparing,” said Roland Kamenz from the East Police Department of the Berliner Zeitung. “That will be a challenge, especially the arrival and departure.” To secure the traffic, not only the local police are used, but also additional forces from the riot police. To regulate the traffic, specialists from the traffic police will also be on site and police officers with motorcycles.
Although the company’s own premises are huge, Tesla has rented space for parking spaces in the industrial park opposite. Obviously, the organizers expect many fans to come to the Gigafest by car. The basic problem: The entrance to the site is only a few hundred meters from a motorway exit on the Berliner Ring. This means there is even less storage space than, for example, at the Lausitzring race track. When traveling to major events there, there are always long backlogs up to the motorway. Since this time Corona requirements also apply, the procedure will certainly not accelerate.
Economics minister sees positive effects of the settlement
The Tesla company expressly recommends guests on its website to travel by train, to the Fangschleuse station and use the company’s bus shuttle from there. The party is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., but should go longer with bands and a DJ.
The Gigafactory is considered to be the largest industrial investment in East Germany. Musk actually wanted to start production in the summer, but there were always construction stops and delays. In the long term, it is said, Tesla wants to build up to two million cars there, more vehicles than VW in Wolfsburg.
Brandenburg Economics Minister Jörg Steinbach (SPD) will probably not be there on Saturday. He told the Berliner Zeitung: “I am pleased that Tesla is introducing itself to the people in the region as a new ‘neighbor’.” There are already many positive effects of the settlement for the business location Brandenburg. It starts with the construction site, where many regional companies are in action. “The working radius of the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg already extends beyond our national borders. In the foreseeable future, the supplier industry can also benefit from Tesla, ”said the minister. “And a very important effect of the Tesla project: Companies have Brandenburg on their ‘investment map’. Since Tesla decided in favor of Brandenburg, we have had more inquiries for investments than in the previous period – and that despite Corona. “
The approval process is currently running online
Musk still does not have a final building permit for the billion-dollar project. But Tesla has received 17 early permits for individual construction phases so far. Most recently, at the end of September, it was allowed to build several tanks. But only to build. “Commissioning – i.e. filling – the tanks is not yet permitted,” said Frauke Zelt, spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Environment. There, the State Environment Agency is responsible for checking and approving the construction project.
A three-week online consultation has been running on the approval process since September 24th. Documents are published, including statements from authorities or the summarizing objections of the critics. The main problem is that the factory is largely located in a drinking water protection area and requires so much additional water that the critics see the water supply in the entire region between Berlin and Frankfurt (Oder) at risk.
Anyone who has already raised objections can now explain them again online. If the deadline ends on October 14th, the results should be included in the “Justification for the approval or rejection notice”.