Elon Musk posts drone footage of Berlin Gigafactory as it nears completion

In brief: Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory has run into some issues during its construction, but the end looks to be in sight. CEO Elon Musk has tweeted a drone video showing the snow-covered buildings, which will manufacture the Model Y for Europe, as it nears completion.

Located in Brandenburg, about 20 miles south-east of Berlin, the 92-hectare site is so large that it looks quite flat in the video, though Musk notes it actually ranges up to 5 stories tall.

The Gigafactory will create 10,000 jobs and produce 500,000 cars per year, according to Musk. The world’s largest battery plant is also set to be constructed at the location.

Not everyone is happy about the plant. As reported by the Guardian, a group of locals are campaigning to stop construction, which has already seen one hundred hectares of pine trees felled and 86 more hectares likely to follow.

Tesla had been ordered by a court to suspend work over claims by Germany’s Nature Protection Union (NABU) that it is destroying the habitat of the sand lizard and European smooth snake, both protected species that live in the woodland.

Tesla also has the problem of an outstanding downpayment to the local environment agency of €100 million ($122.7 million) to cover possible remediation costs. Company lawyers have, however, filed to extend the deadline for payment.

In total, 360 objections to the Gigafactory have been lodged, but authorities have told Musk he can continue the project, albeit at his own risk. Teslarati writes that the recent lawsuits have ended up accelerating the approval process for the site.

In response to the environmental protests, Tesla has promised to plant three times as many trees as it fells, and build fences to protect the lizards and snakes.

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