The Tesla CEO chose a site near Berlin last year instead of the UK to locate his first European factory, due to “Brexit uncertainty”. But now his vision for the future of the electric car company may have changed, as he is reportedly considering a move to build a new site at a currently under construction “smart campus” in Somerset, called Gravity. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng appeared to give those plans the green light, stating this month that Somerset “has the manufacturing skill and competence to be able to sustain an excellent gigafactory,” adding that the Government is “considering and looking” at the site.
Mr Musk was first linked with the site after he reportedly flew his private jet to the UK last summer to examine potential locations.
The Government was then said to have urgently sought a “four million square foot site” to accommodate a new Tesla gigafactory, with Gravity “trying to secure the enormous letting”.
Speculation was revived last month after a letter addressed to Mr Musk was sent to the Gravity site.
According to Somerset Live, Gravity hopes to begin announcing the companies moving to the smart campus later this year.
It has previously stated it aims to attract “world-leaders in advanced manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence and electric vehicles”.
Plans for the site include a direct link road to junction 23 of the M5, as well as purpose-built on-site freight and passenger rail terminals.
Experts have noted a Tesla plant located in a country operating a right-hand drive system would be a “smart move” as it continues its rapid global expansion.
The low-carbon business park, which spans over 27 million square feet on the site of a former Royal Ordnance factory, has been mooted as the perfect location.
But to guarantee the UK can manufacture cars in the electric era, there needs to be a step up in investment in all aspects of the car-making supply chain, especially batteries.
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“The government will make sure the production cost for Tesla will be the lowest when compared with the world, even China, when they start manufacturing their cars in India. We will assure that.”
Tesla also previously submitted a document in order to become an energy supplier in the UK, according to The Telegraph.
In its application to the UK’s Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, Tesla requested for a license that would allow it to generate electricity to supply “any premises” in Britain.
Elon Musk previously stated that Tesla Energy could be as large or even larger than the car sector of the company.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson will likely be eager after he outlined his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
Mr Johnson set out his ambitious proposals to create and support up to 250,000 British jobs.
Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister’s blueprint will allow the UK to meet its net-zero commitment by 2050.