Tesla hopes to tap into the UK's automotive engineering talent, which has turned the country into an F1 powerhouse.
Tesla is planning to set up a UK outpost in hopes of tapping into the engineering talent that has made the country a Formula 1 powerhouse, The Telegraph reports.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s billionaire CEO, spoke about the move as he announced the company’s acquisition of German engineering firm Grohmann.
“We have a lot of respect for the British automotive engineering talent,” Musk said. “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.”
The UK government hopes to leverage existing expertise and attract new investment that will turn the UK into a center of excellence for automotive engineering, particularly autonomous car technology.
The news that Tesla may set up shop there will be a significant boost to those plans. Officials will also take it as a vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest, despite the turmoil following the vote to leave the European Union
Asked about the significance of Tesla investing in the UK, Professor David Bailey of Aston University told The Telegraph: “A British engineering base would make a lot of sense for Tesla. The Midlands, for example, has what I call a ‘phoenix industry’ of cutting-edge firms working in low carbon and driverless automotive technologies, linked both to universities and the motorsport industry.
“Just as automakers go to Silicon Valley to tap into software design, so too auto firms come to the UK for design and engineering skills, and technology.”
Musk also said that buying Grohmann was just the start of a European investment program. He said: “Tesla is going to make some very significant investments in Europe - and the U.S. of course. 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.”
Tesla has bought factory automation specialist Grohmann to enable it to hit its target of producing 500,000 cars per year from 2018.
“This is about building the machine that builds the machine,” Musk said. “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.”
Source: The Telegraph