Should have chosen the UK! Musk grills Germany as £5bn Tesla factory delayed over red tape

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The Tesla CEO touched down in Berlin yesterday and headed straight to Brandenburg, the state where his electric vehicle plant is being built. During his meeting, Mr Musk is said to have grilled both state leaders and executives of the company building the factory. Brandenburg’s economy minister, Joerg Steinbach, said Mr Musk made clear how important it is for them to keep to the schedule for the construction of the factory.

He said that Mr Musk also said Tesla would intensify communication and involve local citizens more.

Playing down any tension, he also wrote on Twitter: “Relaxed meeting with Elon Musk, Dietmar Woidke, co-workers on both sides and myself.

“In an atmosphere of mutual trust, we discussed the remaining tasks.

“Thanks to you and your great family for this visit, Elon.”

Elon Musk has blasted German leaders

Elon Musk has blasted German leaders (Image: GETTY)

Joerg Steinbach played down any tension

Joerg Steinbach played down any tension (Image: GETTY)

The factory is at least six months behind schedule.

It has been held up by legal challenges from environmental groups, delays in the approval process by regional and national agencies, and the carmaker’s own revisions to the plan.

Tesla must also find new homes for the site’s current residents – a species of lizard, and the kind of snake that likes to eat it.

And it could prove costly.

It buys time for competing manufacturers like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Renault to try to establish their own expanding lineups of electric cars.

READ MORE: UK’s own Greta Thunberg! 11-year-old Brit on 200-mile march to Westminster to save planet

A photo of the Tesla CEO was shared

A photo of the Tesla CEO was shared (Image: TWITTER)

Matthias Schmidt, an independent analyst in Berlin who tracks electric car sales in Europe, said: “The European market is completely hot at the moment.

“Definitely it’s an opportunity missed for Tesla and an opportunity gained for European manufacturers.”

Mr Musk is said to have chosen Germany for the company’s third major assembly plant because he wanted to tap the expertise in engineering and manufacturing that has allowed Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW to dominate the global market for luxury passenger cars.

But it comes after he snubbed Britain.

Mr Musk told trade magazine Auto Express in 2019 that uncertainty over the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU “made it too risky” to establish its European battery facility in the country.

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The factory is yet to be built

The factory is yet to be built (Image: GETTY)

Mr Musk snubbed the UK to build in Berlin

Mr Musk snubbed the UK to build near Berlin (Image: GETYY)

He added that his decision was influenced by Germany’s strong track record on engineering.

He said: “We’ve decided to put the Tesla Gigafactory Europe in the Berlin area.

“I come to Berlin a lot – Berlin rocks.

“Some of the best cars in the world are made in Germany, everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding,” said Musk. “That’s part of the reason why we’re locating our Gigafactory Europe in Germany.

“We are also going to create an engineering and design centre in Berlin.”

It remains unclear when the first vehicles will roll off the production line there, though.

Tesla originally planned to start production of their Model Y car in July but the automaker has already pushed back the expected opening to late 2021.

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