Tesla cites Brexit as Germany chosen over UK for European plant

Tesla’s boss Elon Musk has said Brexit uncertainty played a role in the firm’s decision to build its first European factory in Germany rather than the UK.

The billionaire entrepreneur revealed that the firm’s European battery plant would be built on the outskirts of Berlin.

Speaking to Auto Express after making the announcement, Musk said: “Brexit [uncertainty] made it too risky to put a gigafactory in the UK.”

The US electric carmaker also plans to locate a research and development base in the German capital. Musk announced the Berlin decision at a car industry awards ceremony on Wednesday night hosted by the German tabloid Bild.

Musk said: “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 why we are locating our gigafactory Europe in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin.”

In November 2016 Musk downplayed the effects of Brexit and said Tesla planned to build an R&D base in the UK. He had previously said that if there was enough demand a factory could subsequently be built in the UK, although Tesla planned to open its first European factory on the continent.

Aside from batteries, Tesla will also build its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Berlin. Production is expected to start in 2021. Musk told the award audience: “I come to Berlin a lot – Berlin rocks!”