Elon Musk was invited to bring a Tesla plant to north-east England after the electric car company revealed its ambition to build a dozen “giant factories” around the world.
Ben Houchen, conservative mayor of Tees Valley, wrote to Musk on Friday asking billionaire Tesla to bring an electric car factory to the Northeast.
In a letter seen by The Telegraph, Houchen wrote: “In the UK, where we have a £ 82 billion automotive industry leading the world in high-end vehicle manufacturing, it would certainly make sense for Tesla to develop a serious presence. with Teesside it is the best possible position to do this.
The mayor said Teesside could offer Tesla “hundreds of acres of ideal building land” while avoiding “the bureaucratic tangles seen at other sites.”
Tesla faced delays in putting its Berlin car factory into operation, and Mr. Musk complained about the bureaucracy involved in opening the German plant. The project met with objections from trade unions and environmental protesters.
Mr. Houchen’s letter came after Mr. Musk said Thursday night that Tesla had plans to open a dozen more electric car factories to add to its factories in California, New York, Texas, Berlin and Shanghai. He told investors that the company plans to build “at least 10 or 12 gigafactories” and that it could announce its next site by the end of the year.
The electric car company is currently planning to produce 1.5 million vehicles in 2022, but ultimately Musk wants Tesla to build up to 20 million cars a year. That would be double the number of Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, which sold 9.6 million cars last year.
Mr. Houchen said Teesside will be able to offer Tesla access to customs incentives via the Teesside Freeport, which opened in November 2021.
A total of 21,000 new Teslas have been put into circulation in the UK so far this year, according to industry data. The UK has banned the sale of new petrol vehicles since 2030.
At Tesla’s shareholders meeting Thursday, Musk asked investors to shout out where he should build his next factory. He said, “We have a lot of Canada, I’m half Canadian, maybe I should?” Mr. Musk was born in South Africa to a Canadian mother.
Mr. Musk previously told Tesla staff that he was evaluating other sites in North America for a future factory, including Canada and Mexico.
In 2019, he claimed Brexit prevented him from choosing the UK for a Tesla factory.
“Brexit has made it too risky to set up a gigafactory in the UK,” said the billionaire.
He also pitched the idea of bringing a factory to Russia while speaking to an audience in Moscow in 2021. However, the billionaire was a staunch supporter of Ukraine after the Russian invasion and provided assistance in the form of satellite connectivity via the its Starlink business.
Mr. Musk’s factory plans come as electric van start-up Arrival, which has a factory in Bicester, suspended work on a planned electric car and electric bus as it seeks to cut costs. Stocks in Arrival have dropped nearly 80% so far this year.
In July, Tesla reported that its revenues had fallen for the first time in a quarter after blockades in China halted car production.
Tesla stock has rebounded over the past month to around $ 922, although it remains down about 20% from the start of the year. Tesla said Thursday that it would carry out a three-to-one stock split on the shares issued.
Sales of electric cars are growing in the UK even as automotive sales in general suffer. On Thursday, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported a 9% drop in new registrations for July, although electric vehicles increased their market share by up to 10%.