Tesla faces rejection from locals for plans to expand German site

BERLIN (Reuters) – Tesla’s ambitions to expand its German plant hit a roadblock when citizens voted against a motion to raze down trees and make way for the larger site, the mayor of Gruenheide said to Reuters on Tuesday.

While not binding, the vote is a further obstacle for the U.S. EV maker’s plans to double the site’s capacity to 100 gigawatt hours of battery production and 1 million cars per year, setting it up to dominate Europe’s EV market.

The plant’s current capacity is around 500,000 cars a year, but its production ramp-up has slowed. The carmaker produced 6,000 cars in a week for the first time in January, after hitting the milestone of 5,000 cars per week in March.

Citizens in Gruenheide voted against the motion on Tuesday to clear enough forest for the company to build extra logistical spaces like a train station and warehouses, leaving it to local authorities to decide how to proceed.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)