BERLIN -- Tesla plans sweeping changes to its factory near Berlin, including extensions to its battery cell production, indicating that ramp-up plans remain underway despite a recent shift in focus to scaling up in the U.S.
Documents published by the local environment ministry and water authority on Wednesday showed the long list of modifications Tesla is planning to expand the site into Europe's biggest car factory.
Modifications outlined in the application should become operational in the first half of 2024, according to the documents.
They include constructing a battery cell testing lab and extending water recycling.
The changes also include extensions or changes to existing parts of the facility such as the press shop and paint shop, as well as constructing new elements such as a material storage facility.
Tesla has faced objections from local people, mainly over environmental impact and water usage. The company sought to assuage local concerns with a question-and-answer session on Tuesday.
For the expansion, Tesla has committed to not using any additional water capacity, instead recycling the 1.4 million cubic metres of water it is licensed to use.
Local residents have until mid-September to file objections to the latest proposals.
When up to speed the plant would have a greater output than Volkswagen's Wolfsburg plant, which has an annual capacity of 800,000 vehicles but built just 400,000 cars last year.
Tesla currently produces around 5,000 cars a week in Grunheide and has not provided a timeline for ramping up output.
Lithium-ion cell output
Tesla had said in February this year that it was assembling battery modules at the plant and preparing to produce electrodes but had not yet begun doing so because it was focusing cell production in the U.S. to benefit from subsidies offered under the Inflation Reduction Act.
The documents said Tesla will produce lithium-ion cells in Gruenheide for use in electric cars and energy storage systems in various locations around the globe, with the expansion to include cell testing, new areas for mixing materials, and "all other processes and components for the production of anodes and cathodes."