Tesla urged to build gigafactory in Teesside while Elon Musk plans new factories around the world

MARCH 22: Newly completed Tesla electric cars at the official opening of the new Tesla electric car factory on March 22, 2022 - Getty Images Europe

MARCH 22: Newly completed Tesla electric cars at the official opening of the new Tesla electric car factory on March 22, 2022 – Getty Images Europe

Elon Musk has been urged to bring a Tesla plant to North East England after the electric car company revealed its ambition to build a dozen “gigafactories” around the world.

Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, wrote to Musk on Friday asking the Tesla billionaire to bring an electric car plant to the North East.

In a letter seen by The Telegraph, Mr Houchen wrote: “In the UK, where we have an £82bn car industry which is a world leader in the production of advanced vehicles, it would surely make sense for Tesla to develop a serious presence, with Teesside is the best possible place to do this.”

The mayor said Teesside could offer Tesla “hundreds of acres of prime development land” while avoiding “the red tape seen elsewhere”.

Tesla has experienced delays in getting its car factory in Berlin up and running, and Musk has lamented the red tape involved in opening the German plant. The project has met with objections from trade unions and environmental protesters.

Houchen’s letter came after Musk said Thursday night that Tesla planned to open up to a dozen more electric car factories to add to its factories in California, New York, Texas, Berlin and Shanghai. He told investors the company planned to build “at least 10 or 12 gigafactories” and could announce its next site by the end of the year.

Aerial view of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory at Lingang New Area on July 11, 2021 in Shanghai, China.  - Visual China Group

Aerial view of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory at Lingang New Area on July 11, 2021 in Shanghai, China. – Visual China Group

The electric car company currently plans to produce 1.5 million cars by 2022, but Musk ultimately wants Tesla to build as many as 20 million cars per year. That would be twice as many as Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer, which sold 9.6 million cars last year.

Houchen said Teesside would be able to offer Tesla access to customs incentives via the Teesside Freeport, which opened in November 2021.

A total of 21,000 new Teslas have hit the road in the UK so far this year, according to industry figures. The UK has banned the sale of new petrol cars from 2030.

At Tesla’s shareholder meeting on Thursday, Musk asked investors to call out where he would build his next factory. He said, “We have a lot of Canada, I’m half Canadian, maybe I should?” Musk was born in South Africa to a Canadian mother.

Musk has previously told Tesla employees that he is considering other locations in North America for a future factory, including Canada and Mexico.

In 2019, he said that Brexit prevented him from choosing the UK for a Tesla factory.

“Brexit made it too risky to put a gigafactory in the UK,” the billionaire said.

He also floated the idea of ​​bringing a factory to Russia while speaking to an audience in Moscow in 2021. However, the billionaire has been a vocal supporter of Ukraine following Russia’s invasion and has provided assistance in the form of satellite connectivity via his Starlink business.

Mr Musk’s factory plans come as electric van start-up Arrival, which has a factory in Bicester, halted work on a planned electric car and electric bus as it tries to cut costs. Shares in Arrival have fallen almost 80 percent so far this year.

In July, Tesla reported that revenue had fallen for the first time in a quarter after shutdowns in China halted car production.

Tesla shares have rebounded in the past month to about $922, although they are still down about 20 percent at the start of the year. Tesla said Thursday it would conduct a three-for-one stock split on its issued shares.

Sales of electric cars are growing in the UK, even as sales of the car industry are suffering. On Thursday, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported a 9 percent drop in new registrations for July, even as electric cars increased their market share to 10 percent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.