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Tesla to open first European Gigafactory near Berlin

Wednesday, 13 November, 2019 - 13:08

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla will open a production plant near Berlin, company boss Elon Musk announced on Tuesday, making it Tesla’s fourth such Gigafactory after those in Nevada, New York and Shanghai.

The general manager of Tesla revealed his choice while receiving the award for the best car in the middle/upper vehicle class for the Tesla model 3 from the German magazine Bild.

“Everyone knows that German engineering is extraordinary and that’s one of the reasons why we are going to set up our Gigafactory Europe in Germany,” Elon Musk told the audience. The factory will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with the Model Y electric SUV.

The Berlin plant will also include an engineering and design centre, because “Berlin has some of the best works of art in the world,” Musk added.

The European Tesla factory will be located near the “new airport,” he said, causing some laughter in the audience, because the “Berlin-Brandenburg” airport, originally slated to open in 2012, remains a work in progress after multiple delays.

“We must definitely move faster than the airport,” admitted the billionaire boss.

The Tesla CEO did not specify the amount of investment or the number of employees in the future Gigafactory, which is due to begin production in 2021.

IG Metall, Germany’s biggest labour union, welcomed the plan. Quoted by the German website DW, Birgit Dietze IG Metall’s regional head said that the announcement” strengthens Berlin as an industrial location and creates jobs. We hope this sets an example.”

Tesla has recently returned to profitability, after two quarters in the red, and has renewed its commitment to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 new cars this year, 100,000 of which are projected to be sold in Europe. During his speech, Musk also welcomed the production tests carried out in the new 865,000-square-meter factory in Shanghai, which was completed in ten months and has an annual production capacity of at least 500,000 cars.

Eventually, the American company wants to have 10 to 12 Gigafactories around the world.

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