American World War II bombs found at Tesla's new German site have been defused

Key Points
  • Tesla is set to open Europe's first "Gigafactory" just outside Berlin.
  • World War II bombs dropped by American planes have been found at the site and defused.
  • Construction at the site has upset some environmentalists.
25 January 2020, Brandenburg, Grünheide: Tesla electric vehicles stand on a road on the edge of a forest where the construction of a Tesla factory is planned.
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Munitions experts in Germany have safely defused seven unexploded bombs from World War II that were found on the site of Tesla's new factory.

Tesla is set to open Europe's first "Gigafactory" just outside Berlin which will make Model Y cars as well as batteries, battery packs and powertrains for use in other Tesla vehicles.

The defusing operation was completed Sunday "without any problems," a police spokesman told local media, who also said the bombs were dropped by the U.S. Air Force during World War II.

Tesla wants the new 300-hectare site, which cost the company $45 million, to start producing cars and batteries by the end of 2021, with an ultimate target of 500,000 vehicles per year.

It will be named "Gigafactory 4," and follows Tesla's other major sites at Nevada, Buffalo and Shanghai.

The site had previously been considered by BMW, but the German rival opted to build further south in Leipzig.

German protest

Deforestation to make way for the new Tesla construction has generated protest from German locals who highlight the loss of habitat for wildlife, as well as concerns over how much water the factory will siphon from local sources.

Activists believe that water consumption of 372 cubic meters per hour by the plant could cause pollution.

Musk took to Twitter on Saturday to claim the factory wouldn't use anything close to that amount, adding that the forest was not natural habitat.

Tesla has promised to move a bat population and plant three times as many trees that it cuts down in a different location.