Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., speaks during an interview at the company’s assembly plant in Fremont, California, U.S., on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk made it official on Tuesday — the electric car company plans to build a ‘Gigafactory,’ and engineering and design center in Berlin, Germany.
The facility would be Tesla’s fourth, following the first Gigafactory battery plant in Nevada, near Reno; a factory that makes charging equipment and power electronics in Buffalo, New York, with plans to make Tesla Solar Roof tiles there someday; and another car plant that’s coming online in Shanghai, today.
Musk said, “Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure. 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 center in Berlin, because Berlin has some of the best art in the world.” When pressed for more details, Musk said the factory will be located near the new airport in the Berlin area.
Musk announced the location while speaking at an awards show in Germany today. He was given a “Das Goldene Lenkrad” or “Golden Steering Wheel Award” by Bild, a publication owned by Axel Springer.
Musk has talked about Tesla’s aims to build a European factory for years. In 2016, after Tesla acquired a German manufacturing and automation design firm, Grohmann Engineering, the CEO suggested that its European factory should be in Germany, reiterating that suggestion on social media last summer and on earnings calls several times.
U.S. revenue dipped for Tesla in the third quarter. But its sales have increased in European countries throughout the first three quarters of 2019, despite a slowdown in the overall market for new cars in the region.
Building a factory there could help Tesla avoid the complexities of exporting its cars from the states to Europe, and could help it avoid uncertainty around trade and tariffs.
In a third-quarter update, Tesla said it plans to produce its already-popular Model 3 electric sedans and forthcoming Model Y, a crossover SUV, at the European factory.