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Water turned off at Tesla Gigafactory over unpaid bills

October 16, 2020

The utility company said pipes supplying the carmaker's first European plant, just outside Berlin, will remain blocked until Tesla pays up. It's not yet clear how the lack of water will affect construction plans.

Tesla factory getting built near Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Pleul

US-based electric car manufacturer Tesla has lost water access at its plant in Germany due to unpaid bills.

A spokeswoman for the water company, Wasserverband Strausberg-Erkner (WSE), said Tesla was repeatedly warned that it was behind on its payments.

"The 14-day notice period has expired," WSE spokeswoman Sandra Ponesky told the Associated Press. "We can't treat Tesla any differently than other customers."

Read moreWhat German Gigafactory neighbors make of Tesla's Elon Musk

Ponesky said that as soon as the company paid the amount it owed, the tap would be turned back on. She did not say how much Tesla owed.

Elon Musk at the construction site
Tesla founder Elon Musk visited the construction site outside Berlin last monthImage: Getty Images/M. Hitij

The plant, based in Grünheide near the capital Berlin, is the company's first Gigafactory in Europe. It is still being built and the manufacturer hopes to build 500,000 electric vehicles there per year, with a workforce of 12,000 employees. Production could begin as early as next summer.

Tesla had only just recently signed the contract for water development. It was not immediately clear how or if the lack of water would affect construction at the site.

Read moreTeutonic Tesla: Elon Musk's busy week in Germany

The state of Brandenburg, where the plant is located, has yet to give Tesla an environmental permit for the new plant. The construction work thus far has taken place with preliminary permits for individual construction stages.

Local residents and environmentalists have expressed concerns that the drinking water around the factory would be contaminated, and a nearby nature reserve would be greatly affected.

Tesla pushes ahead with Gigafactory in Germany

kbd/nm (AP, dpa)