Hybrids & Electrics

Alert Samuel L Jackson –Tesla Has a Snake Problem

Tesla is just about the only car company I can think of that would have snake-related issues. As a brand built around the absurd and taking everything to “11,” this only feels natural. As Tesla plans to build a new Model Y factory outside of Berlin, Germany, snakes block their progress. 

Tesla has been forced to stop building to not interfere with local snake habitat

Tesla is working on building something called the “Gigafactory” in Germany. As construction crews were clearing the forest that would be the factory’s site, local environmentalists halted construction because of snakes hibernating in nearby trees. 

Felled trees lie on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory. Environmentalists have obtained a court order stopping the premature start of a further clearing of forest land | Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Felled trees lie on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory | Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

The local authorities are reviewing the claims made by members of the environmental group NABU that clearing the forest for the factory would disturb the smooth snake, also known as Coronella austriaca. The smooth snake is known to hibernate in the ground around this area. 

“The Landesumweltamt (state environmental authority) and Tesla will now be consulted; they need to make submissions by this afternoon, and then we assess the situation,” a spokesman for the administrative court in Frankfurt an der Oder in eastern Germany said on Tuesday, according to Autoblog. Tesla has yet to comment on the snake situation. 

How can they begin building?

Local authorities hold all the power here. Tesla cannot begin building until the local authorities have consulted with the environmental groups and the surrounding community. In a country where attention to detail is so highly valued, the environmental audit that Tesla has found itself in the middle of will likely take a long time. 

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Elon Musk moves fast, maybe too fast sometimes 

Last year, Tesla announced that it planned to build its first European factory and have it fully operational on July 1, 2021. This factory was going to be focused on building the electric crossover, the Model Y. As with everything related to Musk, this sounds very fast. In this case, it was too fast, and all construction must be halted until the snake issue is resolved. 

The Tesla Model Y is the brand's first small electric crossover.
Tesla Model Y | ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

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It’s hard to critique Tesla’s founder and CEO when he did build the world’s most valuable car company in only 16 years. Although the German Gigafactory hasn’t worked out as planned so far, Tesla did manage to get the Shanghai factory from a field to building cars in just under a year. So, we know Elon’s got it in him. 

Why does Tesla want a German Factory so bad? 

Well as the stereotype goes, German engineering is some of the best in the world. They have a reputation for precision and quality. Tesla most assuredly wants to be able to put a “Made in Germany” label on the Model Y. Tesla would join in a long and heavy-duty lineup of great carmakers from Germany like Porsche, Audi, VW, and BMW only to name a few. 

As if Tesla needed more environmental concerns…

Local authorities are also looking into a claim by NABU that Lacerta agilis, also known as sand lizards, could be put at risk by Tesla’s expansion. Autoblog goes on to say that the EV carmaker set aside three days in October to address environmental and other local concerns about the factory. The three-day hearing turned into an eight-day onslaught of irritated locals totaling 414 individual complaints. 

The main concern was the amount of water the factory would be using. Apparently, the battery production process requires enormous amounts of water. Tesla agreed that it would limit the water used by the factory, cutting the supply in half.