Tesla is to build its first European Gigafactory battery plant in Berlin, Germany.
Speaking with Auto Express following the announcement, Elon Musk, Tesla chief executive, said: “Brexit [uncertainty] made it too risky to put a Gigafactory in the UK.”
In addition to battery production, the German site will also produce the pure electric Model 3 and Model Y, together with related powertrain components.
The Model Y is the crossover version of the Model 3, in much the same way as the Model X is the crossover of the Model S.
Musk had wanted to call the ‘3’ the ‘E’, so that the model names would spell ‘SEXY’, but that idea was later dialled back to where a ‘3’ was used as a reverse E.
Musk added: “Some of the best cars in the world are made in Germany. Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure, and that’s part of the reason we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin.”
Musk has previously downplayed the effect of Brexit, hinting that Tesla could make investments in the UK. But issues related to free movement of parts and other factors have clearly changed the billionaire’s mind.
The European Gigafactory is expected to come online in 2021. It will join the first super-sized Tesla battery plant, Gigafactory 1, located near Reno, Nevada. That location produces batteries for vehicles and Tesla energy storage facilities.
Tesla also has two other massive factory locations. Gigafactory 2, located near Buffalo, New York, produces high-efficiency solar panels, including solar roof tiles. Gigafactory 3 is another battery plant, located in Shanghai, China.
The Tesla Model 3 was launched in the UK in August this year and immediately became the third best-selling passenger vehicle in the country.