Musk says Tesla to build new factory near Berlin

BERLIN (AP) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric car pioneer plans to build a new factory near Berlin.

Musk said during an award ceremony in the German capital on Tuesday evening that “we’ve decided to put the Tesla Giga factory Europe in the Berlin area”.

The company will also set up an engineering and design centre in Berlin, Musk said at the Golden Steering Wheel event. He wrote on Twitter that the new plant “will build batteries, powertrains and vehicles, starting with Model Y”.

He said that the plan is for the factory to be built near Berlin’s new airport, which is located just outside the city limits in neighbouring Brandenburg state and currently slated to open next year after years of delays.

“We definitely need to move faster than the airport, that’s for sure,” Musk said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, California. PHOTO: AP

Regional officials in Berlin and Brandenburg welcomed the announcement, which comes as the German government tries to ramp up support for electric cars.

German officials and auto industry leaders agreed last week to increase by half the existing government incentives for electric vehicles with a list price of EUR40,000 (USD44,500).

The subsidy will also be extended from the end of 2020 currently to the end of 2025, while the government and industry also agreed to aim for 50,000 publicly accessible charging stations nationwide by 2022.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier hailed Tesla’s announcement yesterday as further evidence of Germany’s attractiveness as an auto industry location. He called it “a milestone in the expansion of electric mobility and battery expertise”.

Last week, German automaker Volkswagen began mass production of its ID.3 electric car.