Tesla Gigafactory Europe: Brexit Fears Drove First Electric Car Plant to Berlin

Written by | Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

Tesla Inc. will build its second plan outside the US and its first European electric car factory in the German capital, Berlin, its CEO Elon Musk has announced in a tweet. Following the unveiling of its first Chinese-built cars earlier this week, Musk also said that, in the Berlin plant, Tesla will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with the lower-priced Model Y sports utility vehicle. Berlin has also earmarked financial support for manufacturing electric car battery cells.
Tesla’s CEO has blamed Brexit as the reason why his company chose Germany rather than Britain as the country to launch its new Gigafactory. As Musk explained to the Auto Express magazine, uncertainty over the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union “made it too risky” to establish its European battery facility in the country. Last month, Tesla said its European factory should start production in 2021. “Tesla is coming to Brandenburg with a big investment,” Dietmar Woidke, premier of Brandenburg, the German state that surrounds Berlin, said, stressing that his government “lobbied for this for a long time in intensive talks and with good arguments.”
While announcing the opening of a new plant during the Golden Steering Wheel awards ceremony in Germany, Musk said the factory would be near the new Berlin airport. His appearance at the awards ceremony is another example of Tesla’s efforts to co-opt marketing tactics employed by German manufacturers, which have a reputation for high quality products. Meanwhile, in China, Tesla faces competition from China Evergrande Group, a property giant that plans to launch its debut electric vehicle by June 2020 in a bid to become the world’s largest maker of electric cars. Germany’s Volkswagen is also racing to enter the electric car market as it prepares two factories in China to build electric cars as early as next year.

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