Tesla's had to make an emergency stop this week, after a court injunction ordered it to hit pause on building its new Gigafactory near Berlin.
Tesla had already started clearing the forest on land in Grünheide, Brandenburg, but environmental protesters objected on the grounds that it'd be harmful to the local water and wildlife. The court injunction is temporary, and there'll be further hearings within the next few weeks to decide whether the factory can go ahead.
Tesla didn't actually get official permission to build the factory, which Elon Musk announced back in November. However, according to the BBC, the German environment ministry said Tesla was welcome to start preparing the site at its own risk, which it did – clearing a whopping 91 ha of forest and chopping down thousands of trees growing there. In the process, an incredible seven World War II bombs were found, which had to be defused and made safe.
Tesla says it will find safe new homes for the animals and insects displaced from the site, but environmental coalition the Green League is having none of it. The court itself said in a statement that "it should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding" – which seems to be a roundabout way of saying "Oi, Tesla, you're not the boss of us."
If the factory goes ahead, it's planned to open next year and produce cars and batteries, as well as employing 12,000 workers. The company is estimating an output of 50,000 cars a year from the site, which will become the fourth global Gigafactory after two in America and one in China.
Musk and co will be keen to get the diggers moving again, given that German car manufacturers are quickly embracing electric tech themselves. We'll see what happens. [BBC]
This post originally appeared on Gizmodo UK, which is gobbling up the news in a different timezone.