Tesla Looking at UK Base to Make In-Roads in Europe

Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors is considering making the UK its first European base, CEO Elon Musk has revealed. The move is intended to both tap into British automotive expertise and establish a European presence to help keep import costs down. Musk made the announcement following Tesla acquisition of German engineering outfit Grohmann.

“We have a lot of respect for the British automotive engineering talent,” Musk told The Telegraph. “Just look at Formula 1 – it amazes me how much British talent there is in that. We are likely to establish a Tesla engineering group in Britain at some point in the future.”

“We want to change the world with a lot of electric cars for a lot of people. That is what buying Grohmann is about,” he said.

“This is about building the machine that builds the machine, which is more important than the [cars] themselves as volume increases,”

While Tesla has become the byword for executive luxury electric cars, the company is soon to introduce a new mid-range saloon (sedan) car, the Model 3 (pictured above), set to be priced around £30,000.

While any new factory is sure to open up a number of new employment opportunities, a significant portion of the Tesla production line will be automated by robots.

“The only way to make a large factory to work is to have significant automation,” Musk admitted. “We will still have a large headcount but lots of automation and robotics. Automation is the way to make cars more affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. Economies of scale are the way to take the cost to something that people can afford to buy.”

The potential move does not seem at risk over the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union – Musk said he “did not see” it having a “significant impact” – since Tesla is only looking for a manufacturing presence within the area to keep import costs down as it sells its electric cars on the European continent.

“Tesla is going to make some very significant investments in Europe – and the US of course,” Musk said. “There is no question of at least one, maybe two or three gigafactory locations in Europe in the future.”

“Currently Europe is a market for Tesla but we think it the right thing to do is to start producing cars there as soon as we can reasonably do,” he added.

Ashley Allen

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