Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Tesla Motors will build a new battery factory in Germany, CEO Elon Musk said.
Musk said the "Gigafactory" will be located in Brandenburg state, which surrounds Berlin, and "near the new airport." He also announced plans to build a design and engineering center in Berlin.
The new factory -- where production of batteries, powertrains and cars could start by 2021 -- will be Tesla's fourth, after a battery plant near Reno, Nev., an electronics and solar battery plant in Buffalo, N.Y., and a manufacturing facility in Shanghai.
Since 2016, Musk has indicated he wants a European plant. Tesla acquired German auto design firm Grohmann Engineering in 2017, and sales of Tesla cars have been stronger in Europe than the United States. Some experts feel a factory in a European Union nation could help Tesla avoid import complexities and uncertainties involving potential tariffs. The Brandenburg region is not a traditional German location for auto making operations.
"It's magnificent, it's like Christmas coming early for our region," said Carsten Bronstrup of UVB, a Brandenburg business association.. "The region is not particularly known for its strong industry, so getting a Gigafactory will push future-oriented technologies such as battery production and autonomous driving."
Tesla has previously said it will assemble its Model 3 and forthcoming Model Y sport-utility vehicle in Europe.