Tesla hopes to make the first cars at its new gigafactory near Berlin in October or soon afterwards, boss Elon Musk has said.
The electric car giant has pushed back its planned opening of the plant to late 2021, blaming German bureaucratic hurdles.
The £5bn project has also come under fire from locals due to environmental concerns.
“We’re looking forward to hopefully getting the approval to make the first cars maybe in October if we are fortunate,” Musk said on a visit to the plant with Armin Laschet, Germany’s conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor.
But the environmental agency in Brandenburg has yet to give final approval, meaning a further delay cannot be ruled out, even until 2022.
Tesla has faced criticism as the site partly overlaps a drinking water protection zone and borders a nature reserve.
“This region has so much water, look around you,” Musk said at the factory when asked about the water concerns. “It’s like water everywhere here. Does this seem like a desert to you?” he asked, laughing. “It rains a lot.”
“We’ve gotten a lot of support and that’s very much appreciated,” he said. “We feel very welcome and we’re very happy to be here in Deutschland.”
He later tweeted he was inviting locals and the wider community to a tour of the plant.
“Giga Berlin-Brandenburg county fair & factory tour on 9 October!” he tweeted. “Priority for residents of Brandenburg & Berlin, but also open to general public.”