Tesla targets European expansion

Tesla doesn’t see Brexit a problem and is planning to open up an engineering centre in the UK, according to founder Elon Musk.

He said he didn’t envisage Brexit as having a ‘significant impact’ on the company and plans to tap into a deep source of British engineering talent.

Elon said, ‘We have a lot of respect for the British automotive engineering talent, 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.’

Tesla has already begun its expansion into Europe, announcing its first major acquisition in German engineering business Grohmann,

Grohmann is a specialist in automation and this deal is expected to speed up car production and help the company hit its 2018 target of 500,000 vehicles rolling off the production line, five times the current level.

Elon said, ‘We want to change the world with a lot of electric cars for a lot of people. That is what buying Grohmann is about. This is about building the machine that builds the machine, which is more important than the [cars] themselves as volume increases.

‘The only way to make a large factory to work is to have significant automation. 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.’

Tesla is also looking to establish a gigafactory in Europe and is now looking for a location.

Elon added, ‘Tesla is going to make some very significant investments in. 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 the right thing to do is to start producing cars there as soon as we can reasonably do.’