Did Tesla boss Elon Musk fly into the UK last week to look at potential new site for a Gigafactory?

Time 1 year ago

Tesla boss Elon Musk reportedly flew into Britain last week on his private jet to assess land near Bristol as a potential site for a new car and battery plant.

The Times reported that the billionaire boss of the electric car firm flew into Luton on a whistle-stop tour to look at land in the south west.

It is believed he took a helicopter from Luton to look at the 130 acre site to assess its suitability for a new ‘gigafactory’ and left again just 19 hours after he landed.


He avoided new travel restrictions which require visitors to self isolate when they arrive in the UK for 14 days which come into force tomorrow.

The paper says it understands that the Department for International Trade has been hunting around for a four million sq ft location that could house a Tesla factory for both cars and batteries.

One site that has been approached, says the paper, is Gravity, a 650-acre location near Bristol that used to be the site of a BAE factory.

Property Week has also reported that Tesla was connected with the site for the factory which, if built, would become one of the largest buildings in the UK.

Musk has considered the UK before for a European factory, but instead opted for Germany. The company has started work on its gigafactory there near Berlin, although it has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

In Germany, Tesla purchased 300 hectares of land.

Quite why the Tesla boss is considering a second site in the UK now is unknown, especially as uncertainty still surrounds export tariffs after Brexit.

Nissan said earlier this week that without a deal, its huge plant at Sunderland would have its future called into doubt.

Nissan’s global chief operating officer warned that if the UK doesn’t secure a trade deal with the EU, it may not be able to stand by its commitment to support manufacturing in Britain.

‘You know we are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue. We are committed,’ Ashwani Gupta told the BBC.

‘Having said that, if we are not getting the current tariffs, it’s not our intention but the business will not be sustainable.

‘That’s what everybody has to understand.’

Nissan Sunderland plant ‘unsustainable’ without trade deal with European Union

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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