Berlin will be home to Tesla’s European production facility

13 November 2019

Berlin will be home to Tesla’s European production facility

13 November 2019

Tesla will build its first European production centre in Germany as the electric vehicle (EV) specialist looks to increase sales on the continent.

The carmaker’s chief, Elon Musk, announced the news at the Golden Steering Wheel awards run by Germany’s Bild newspaper. ‘Berlin rocks,’ he stated, saying that the company would be building its new facility near to the country’s capital. He added that Tesla would also create ‘an engineering and design centre’ alongside the production plant.

It is likely that the company will build near Berlin’s proposed new airport, with an industrial site expected to surround the area. This would allow certain components to be flown into the facility from the US. While it is unknown what vehicles will roll off the new production lines, some reports suggest Tesla will concentrate on Model 3 and Model Y units.

The news follows the company’s expansion into Shanghai, where Tesla’s first Model 3s to be made in China are rolling out. Musk has long said he would look to build a facility in Europe but, until now, no country has been mentioned.

Brexit decision

‘German engineering is outstanding, and that’s part of the reason why we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany,’ Mr Musk said, adding that the country made some of the best cars in the world.

Speaking to UK publication Auto Express at the Bild event, Musk stated that the UK was never in contention for the plant, as the country was considered ‘too risky’ due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

With Honda and Ford closing plants, and the future of PSA Group’s Ellesmere Port facility and Nissan’s Sunderland factory in question, Musk’s comments back up the trend of carmakers refusing to invest in the UK until the political situation has stabilised.

Pushing on

At the awards, Musk was joined on stage by Volkswagen’s chief executive Herbert Diess, who praised the entrepreneur ‘for pioneering, for pulling us, for pushing us.’

Tesla’s entry, and success, in the emerging electric vehicle market, has spurred carmakers around the world to develop and market the technology and to challenge the market-leading US firm. VW, in particular, is aiming to become the largest manufacturer of EVs, and recently began production of its ID.3 model.

In a friendly exchange, Diess said that he and Musk ‘share a vision’ but added that ‘German industry is really now strongly investing and we will keep you alert’.