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Tesla to build first European gigafactory in Berlin, Elon Musk announces

Olivia Rudgard
Workers walk outside the Tesla Inc. Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. - Bloomberg

Tesla will build its first European factory in Berlin, chief executive Elon Musk has announced.

The electric car company's fourth "gigafactory" will be built on the outskirts of the German capital, Mr Musk confirmed at an awards ceremony in the country on Tuesday.

He made the announcement speaking to Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen, onstage at the automotive awards event organised by German newspaper Bild, where he received the "Golden Steering Wheel Award" for the company's Model 3 car. 

He called German engineering "outstanding", adding: "That's part of the reason why we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany. We are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin, because I think Berlin has some of the best art in the world.

“There’s not enough time tonight to tell all the details. But it’s in the Berlin area, and it’s near the new airport." 

Mr Diess credited Tesla with his own company's push into electric cars, calling the entrepreneur "the innovator that drives us along".

It has previously set up the facilities in Nevada and Buffalo, New York, with a third in Shanghai, China, just beginning to produce the cars. 

The German factory is due to be near Berlin's new Brandenburg airport, which is due to open next year having been beset with delays and planning problems for almost a decade. 

Mr Musk had previously indicated that Germany was the preferred location for a factory in Europe, suggesting last June that "on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries".

On Tuesday he expanded on his comments at the event on Twitter, writing that the new facility "will build batteries, powertrains & vehicles, starting with Model Y."

The Model Y SUV, Tesla's newest car, is due to go into production next summer.