The entrepreneur announced this week that Tesla will build its new European Gigafactory in Germany along with a new research and development facility.
And speaking to Auto Express, he said that Brexit had made it “too risky” to put the new battery and vehicle production facility in the UK, going back on previous suggestions that Tesla could open a UK site.
In 2014 Musk hinted at plans to build an R&D facility in the UK and in an 2016 interview with the Telegraph he played down the potential threat of Brexit.
However, this week he announced that the new plant and a design and engineering centre will be built near Berlin and told Auto Express: “Brexit made it too risky to put a Gigafactory in the UK.”
Announcing the plans for the new factory in Germany at Auto Bild’s Golden Steering Wheel Awards, Musk said: “Some of the best cars in the world are made in Germany, everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding. That’s part of the reason why we’re locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany.”
Musk was in Europe to accept the motoring magazine’s car of the year award for the Model 3.
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The Berlin facility is Tesla’s fourth battery plant and, according to Musk, will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with the Model Y compact crossover which is due to launch in autumn 2020. It is believed that the Model 3, which shares a platform with the Model Y could also be built there at a later date.
Uncertainty for car industry
Musk’s comments come after other car makers warned of the impact of Brexit on UK car production. In July Groupe PSA warned that it could put the future of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory in doubt. Its chief executive Carlos Tavares said that an unfavourable Brexit could make production of the next-generation Vauxhall Astra at the Merseyside plant unfeasible. Without the Astra, the plant would most likely have to close, affecting up to 1,000 workers.