Tesla chooses Berlin for European gigafactory

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the awarding ceremony of 'Das Goldene Lenkrad' in Berlin, Germany, 12 November 2019. [Photo: EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN]

US electric car firm Tesla will build its European base of operations in Germany, near Berlin, according to company founder Elon Musk who made the long-awaited announcement on Tuesday (12 November).

Tesla’s fourth so-called gigafactory will set up shop near the German capital, after a long period of uncertainty about where the market-disrupting electric carmaker would choose to build its newest base.

Musk has teased the prospect of a European arm of the company since 2016, suggesting somewhere near the Benelux border would be suitable. 

“Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure. That’s part of the reason why we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany,” Musk said at an awards event.

The billionaire entrepreneur also said that “we are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin, because Berlin has some of the best art in the world,” adding that it would be near the site of the new airport in Brandenburg.

Tesla mulls building mega-factory in Germany

American electric carmaker Tesla is reportedly on the hunt for locations in Germany to build one of its gigafactories, according to local media. Adding a European base of operations could help Elon Musk’s firm avoid the worst effects of an ongoing trade war between the US and China.

In its Q3 earnings report, the firm announced that its European branch would be up and running in 2021 and that it would build its popular Model 3 saloon car there, as well as the forthcoming Model Y crossover SUV offering.

Tesla’s third gigafactory, located in Shanghai, started operations yesterday. Both the Chinese and European facilities are meant to help Musk tap into lucrative markets and avoid potential export headaches as a result of global trade tensions.

Although nowhere near the traditional automotive heartland of Germany’s southwest, Berlin is starting to emerge as the Bundesrepublik’s e-mobility Mecca. BMW and Daimler’s new joint venture is based there, as is VW’s ride-hailing group, Moia.

The government has also started to roll out significant policies. Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier in November that Germany should have 1 million charging points by 2030.

Merkel aims to supercharge Germany’s electric car revolution

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday (3 November) that Germany should install 1 million electric car charging points by 2030, ahead of crunch talks with the Bundesrepublik’s car industry later on Monday.

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