Tesla has officially opened its new car plant in Germany on Tuesday, amid protests by environmental groups.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and several ministers attended the opening ceremony in the town of Gruenheide, near Berlin, two years after the construction began.
The factory is set to produce 500,000 electric vehicles annually, and batteries for the cars. Tesla says the factory will create more than 12,000 jobs in the region.
But German environmentalist groups have criticized the project, saying authorities allowed Tesla to clear more than 160 hectares (395 acres) of forest to construct its factory, and that the car plant is likely to destroy natural habitats, and deplete the area's water supply.
Dozens of demonstrators protested the opening ceremony near Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, and some of the groups staged sit-down protests on motorways.
Some environmental activists held banners with slogans that read: “We need real change in transport policy, instead of building luxury e-autos” and “Water is for life -not for corporations.”