Tesla shares are rallying on expectations that the German factory will open in March

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk visits the construction site of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Gruenheide near Berlin on May 17th, 2021.

Michele Tantussi | Reuters

Tesla shares rose more than 7% to close at $870.43 on Monday after reports from Germany suggested the company is close to receiving permits to start commercial production at its new factory outside of Berlin.

According to reports from Tagesspiegel and Der Spiegel, Tesla wants to produce at least half a million cars a year, including batteries for these cars, in its “Gigafactory Berlin” (which is being built in Grünheide, Brandenburg), with at least 12,000 jobs there.

The employees at the plant also elected a “works council,” reported Der Spiegel, citing Birgit Dietze, the IG Metall district manager for Berlin-Brandenburg-Saxony. IG Metall is one of the most powerful trade unions in the world.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has clashed with unions and workers trying to set them up at Tesla in the US

The NLRB found that Tesla violated labor laws when it fired a union activist and when Musk wrote on Twitter in 2018: “Nothing prevents the Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could tmrw do so if they wanted to. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing?”

Organized labor is more common and powerful in Germany.

While Tesla is expected to soon receive permits to begin commercial production at the new Berlin factory, it still faces hurdles related to its water supply contract there.

On March 4, local environmental groups are expected to argue in an administrative court hearing that Brandenburg’s Environment Ministry did not conduct sufficient audits before granting the local water utility a license to perform a contract with Tesla. Reuters reported that the groups filing the complaint claimed the factory would use enough water to power a town of 30,000 people.

If environmental groups win, Tesla will have to wait for the water utility to negotiate with local authorities about where to source the amount of water needed to run Tesla’s new factory.

Overall, technology stocks were mixed for the day, with most large-cap technology companies closing near breakeven.

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