Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk has announced plans to establish a base in the UK that would allow it to tap into British engineering talent.
In an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, billionaire entrepreneur Musk said: “We have a lot of respect for the British automotive engineering talent. Just look at Formula One – it amazes me how much British talent there is in that.”
Then came the bombshell, a desire to tap into that talent: “We are likely to establish a Tesla engineering group in Britain at some point in the future,” he added.
Despite Brexit currently damaging the pound and causing financial uncertainty, Musk said he “did not see” it having a “significant impact” on its long-term aim of bringing desirable electric motoring at a price point the masses can afford.
The billionaire entrepreneur also discussed plans to expand into Europe, with the acquisition of German manufacturing automation specialist Grohmann designed to help Tesla reach its production target of 500,000 vehicles by 2018.
“This is about building the machine that builds the machine, which is more important than the [cars] themselves as volume increases,” Musk continued.
Musk is already working on using the economies of scale to decrease the cost of the batteries, needed to power the electric powertrain in its vehicles, with the creation of its gigantic Gigafactory in Texas.
When asked about future Gigafactory locations, Musk hit home how important Europe is to the success of the Californian company: “Tesla is going to make some very significant investments in Europe – and the US, of course.”
“There is no question of at least one, maybe two or three Gigafactory locations in Europe in the future. We think the right thing to do is start producing cars as soon as we can reasonably do,” he added.
The car that could combustion engine its biggest fight yet is the Tesla Model 3, a BMW 3-Series rival that runs on electric power and is expected to cost around £30,000 when it arrives in late 2017 in the UK.
A range of 215 miles and a 0-60mph time below six seconds has been promised, as well as the addition of a ‘Ludicrous’ mode and the Autopilot autonomous safety system used to let Teslas drive themselves (to an extent).
Tesla recently posted a quarterly profit of US$22million for the three months to the end of September 2016, the first time it had seen profit in more than three years and, according to the report, one of just two occasions this has happened since day one.
The Model X seven-seater SUV – arriving in early 2017 in the UK – played a role in getting into the black, but it was the Model S (our review here) that managed the bulk of sales, 16,047 versus 8,774.