While the American electric car maker Tesla plans to complete the construction of its new Gigafactory in Berlin by July 2021, a species of lizard inhabiting the surrounding forest could compromise the progress of the work.
This protected species of sand lizard, already curled up for its winter hibernation, in fact populates the forest surrounding the construction site of the Gigafactory in Berlin. And after a court ruling late last week, Tesla will not be able to cut down the trees in this forest, because these reptiles would not survive.
This is not the first time that Tesla's plans to build the gigantic Grünheide factory which will be able to produce 500,000 cars a year have been thwarted by representatives of the German wildlife. Faced with the situation, Tesla will likely have to reconsider its scheduled completion date.
The Berlin Gigafactory has already had to deal with other ecological concerns
For the record, these reptiles aren't the only environmental concerns Tesla has had to deal with. Indeed, in November 2019, in addition to the NABU and the Green League which filed appeals with the German justice regarding the hibernating reptiles, the firm met fierce opposition from local environmentalists for the cause of a species of local bat.
Christiane Schröder, director of NABU, said that the idea of a special Lex Tesla that would weaken German standards for the conservation and protection of species was simply unacceptable.
In addition, due to an unpaid security deposit of 100 million euros, Tesla had to halt construction of the plant on the same day the decision on the sand lizards was made. Construction was also said to have been suspended in October because the firm forgot to pay its water bill.
Berlin construction site compromised by hibernating lizards
Earlier this month, German authorities suspended ongoing deforestation to protect hibernating snakes. And despite Tesla's efforts to accommodate the protected species by collecting and moving any lizards it finds there, German justice ruled that reptile relocation efforts were not sufficient to protect this species, because many male lizards are already in their dens to face winter.
Therefore, on December 18, a new stay order was issued to extend the previous one. It is not yet known whether this case will have an impact on the manufacturer's schedule for its Gigafactory and the completion of its construction.