Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Tuesday night that the company would be building its so-called “Gigafactory 4” in Berlin, Germany.
Musk had already been in Germany to accept a Golden Steering Wheel, an award made by Auto-Bild group publisher Axel Springer, for the Tesla Model 3.
"Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding and that's part of the reason we are locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany," Musk was quoted by the BBC as saying at the awards ceremony.
Musk confirmed that the factory, to be located near the city’s new airport, will build batteries, powertrains, and vehicles, starting with Model Y (and almost certain to also include Model 3).
The facility will be Tesla’s fifth major assembly facility and its fourth to follow the “giga” format—going large and vertically integrated with the company’s energy products. After Tesla’s Fremont, California, assembly plant, the company has facilities in Buffalo, New York [pictured above]; Reno, Nevada; and Shanghai, China.
The decision to locate the European plant in Germany isn’t a surprise. Musk has mentioned during earnings calls that it would be the preference, and in 2016 the automaker acquired Grohmann Engineering, a German company. In the company’s quarterly financial call, in October, Musk said that the company would announce the location to the European Gigafactory before the end of the year.
The European factory will also help Tesla in tariff and trade negotiations with the European Union, during a time when there’s a strong push for electric vehicles but also great pressure to keep manufacturing and engineering resources in Germany.
Although funding hasn’t yet been outlined, Tesla could be planning to move fast. In July, chief financial officer Zachary Kirchorn said that in 12 to 18 months the European Gigafactory “will be well underway.”