Recent rumors have emerged that point to the idea of a Tesla Gigafactory being established in the United Kingdom. This is a bit surprising considering that the company is already in the process of building Gigafactory Berlin, which is located nearby in Germany. Yet in the grand scheme of things, establishing a dedicated facility in the UK actually makes a lot of sense. It could even be a stroke of minor genius.
The rumors of a potential Gigafactory UK initially emerged after European news agency AM-Online posted a report stating that the UK’s Department of International Trade (DIT) was on the hunt for a 4 million sq ft plot of land that would be utilized as a space to build an R&D center and manufacturing plant for Tesla. A DIT spokesperson initially related the information to local publication Property Week, which reports on commercial and residential real estate news in the area.
Even more interestingly, avid Tesla critics who were prone to following the flight paths of Elon Musk’s private plane have noted that the CEO had landed at the Luton Airport on Wednesday. The purpose of Musk’s visit remains unknown, of course, though his presence in the country added fuel to the rumors of a potential Tesla facility hosted in the United Kingdom.
In a way, a dedicated Tesla facility in the UK makes perfect sense, especially considering that the country uses vehicles that are Right Hand Drive (RHD). Over the years, Tesla has started vehicle deliveries in the UK later compared to other countries due to this reason. The Model 3 is a perfect example, with the UK only receiving the all-electric sedan in mid-2019, far later than countries that are Left Hand Drive.
The UK is not the only country that follows RHD. Thus, if Tesla could make RHD-only vehicles from a dedicated UK plant, it would allow the company to ramp and roll out electric cars faster to countries that are Right Hand Drive. The size of the facility would probably not even need to be as expansive as Gigafactory Shanghai or Gigafactory Berlin, as the facility would only be making vehicles of a specific variation.
Tesla’s vehicle business may not be the only reason behind Musk’s recent visit to the United Kingdom as well. A ramp of Tesla Energy in the country may also be a key reason behind the CEO’s recent trip. Just last month, after all, reports revealed that Tesla had applied to become an electricity generator in the UK. In its application to the UK’s Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, Tesla requested for a license that would allow it to generate electricity to supply “any premises” in Great Britain.
With this in mind, it appears that Tesla’s rumored Gigafactory UK might actually be allotted for the ramp of Tesla Energy in the country. Such a facility would benefit the company if it intends to become a key player in the UK’s utility sector, and it complements Gigafactory Berlin very well. With a facility in Berlin producing vehicles and a factory in the UK focusing on the energy side of the company’s business, Tesla would be able to adopt an aggressive two-pronged ramp in the European region.
While addressing investors and analysts at the first quarter earnings call, Elon Musk stated that the next Gigafactory would be announced within the next three months or so. When the CEO stated this, it was widely assumed that Musk was referring to the Cybertruck Gigafactory, which will be established in the United States. But perhaps Musk was referring to more than one Gigafactory announcement. Or perhaps the Cybertruck facility is not considered a Gigafactory anymore due to its speculated “Terafactory” moniker. If that’s the case, then perhaps Gigafactory UK may very well be feasible.