Members of a bomb disposal team search for World War II munitions at the site of the planned new Tesla Gigafactory in Gruenheide, Germany, near Berlin. / AP
BERLIN — Seven U.S. bombs from World War II have been found in the plot of land outside Berlin where electric car pioneer Tesla wants to build its first European factory, local authorities said on Thursday.
The duds weigh about 110 pounds each, and explosives experts plan to defuse them in future, said a spokesman for the interior minister in the state of Brandenburg where the property is.
Tesla has agreed to buy land in Gruenheide just outside Berlin, where it plans a giant factory that would give its cars "Made in Germany" branding.
Tesla's local rivals are preparing to launch their own range of electric vehicles to compete with the U.S. company, whose decision to produce in Germany is sure to give BMW, Daimler's Mercedes and Volkswagen's Audi a good run for their money.
Unexploded bombs are often found in and around German cities and elsewhere in Europe, where authorities evacuate residents near the site to ensure their safety while disposal experts defuse them.
A 500 kg (1,100-pound) World War II bomb was found in the western city of Cologne this week, and a similar dud was found near a main square in Berlin. VW's Wolfsburg plant was checked for unexploded ordnance in 2016. And a 500-pound bomb lay dormant for decades next to the M6 motorway near Birmingham, England, before it was discovered in 2017.
Tesla has agreed to pay $45 million euros for the 740-acre site for its factory.