Car company Tesla (TSLA) has been ordered to stop the clearing of swathes of pine forest at its Grünheide factory on the outskirts of Berlin.
A Frankfurt court made the call to temporarily halt the clearing of trees following protests by environmental groups, who said the carmaker was moving too quickly. The campaigners said the move was to protect snakes hibernating in the forrest.
The Brandenburg Nature Conservation Union (NABU) and the Green League had filed a lawsuit against clearing another 82.9 hectares of forest. The clearance had been approved by the environment agency. There has not been a final decision made by the administrative court yet.
The factory, which has its sights on being the world’s biggest producer of batteries, will also play host to Tesla’s first European car plant.
Tesla boss Elon Musk, who recently became the world’s second richest man, has previously said cell production in Brandenburg would begin with a capacity of around 100 gigawatt hours a year, before ramping up to 200 or 250 gigawatt hours a year.
At the time, Musk said: “I’m pretty confident at that point it would be the largest battery-cell plant in the world.”
Construction is well underway a year after its first announcement, and, Tesla says, its first electric vehicles will be roll off production lines from July 2021.
Musk also said in September that Tesla was developing a radically cheaper new electric car battery, but it would not be ready for about three years.
Tesla had not responded to Yahoo Finance requests for comment at the time of publication.
Amid expansion plans, and its admittance to the US S&P 500, Tesla’s stock price has been on a tear in recent months. Over the past year alone it has risen by 667%.
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