Tesla to build e-car plant near Berlin

US entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced plans to open a Tesla "gigafactory" near Berlin in 2021. The plant will produce an e-sports car model, batteries and engines. Media discuss what the decision means for Germany as an economic location, as well as for other European states.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Musk makes politicians look lame

With his decision to build his "gigafactory" near Berlin, Musk is outdoing the German government, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung comments:

“Only recently another car summit took place at which the government promised additional subsidies for buyers of electric cars and for the construction of charging points. ... That all sounds dreadfully complicated and bureaucratic. But along comes an entrepreneur like Elon Musk and makes these projects - pardon! - look typically European. ... Even if it's not all 'giga', it's impressive that someone is willing to to set up a factory for battery cells and electric cars at his own risk. This shows the advantages of entrepreneurial initiative vis-à-vis state intervention.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

German carmakers well equipped

The project isn't going to sell itself, Zeit Online believes:

“[Tesla] shouldn't let itself be fooled into thinking that American working conditions will move into Germany along with this deal. [The German Metalworkers' Union] IG Metall is particularly well-organised in the car industry, and over the past decades it has established a stable and attractive employment environment there. If Tesla wants to attract qualified workers or engineers from this sector it will have to offer similar conditions. ... We often hear that sooner or later Tesla will overtake the German carmakers. But we shouldn't bet on it. Unlike Tesla, the German car industry continues to make profits in the billions. It also has the innovation potential it takes to stand up to the competition.”

The Independent (GB) /

Investors avoiding Brexit Britain

The fact that Musk decided against Britain as a location for his factory highlights the disastrous effects of Brexit, The Independent observes:

“Only the most blinkered of Brexiteers could fail to see this is a major loss to UK plc. Tesla would have brought with it jobs and investment. It would also have helped cement the UK's place at the centre of an important and growing global industry. ... With the UK proposing to put walls up between itself and its biggest market, forcing a ton of bureaucracy and red tape on those who need to import components as part of just-in-time supply chains, those businesses are now shunning this country in favour of places where the engines of government can be counted upon to keep their engines running smoothly.”