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Default 'Berlin rocks,' says Elon Musk as he chooses European factory.
by Notebook 11-13-2019, 03:31 PM

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Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, has said Berlin will be the site of its first major European factory as the carmaker's expansion plans power ahead.
"Berlin rocks," Mr Musk said, adding Tesla would build an engineering and design centre in the German capital.
Tesla previously said it aimed to start production in Europe in 2021.
The moves come as the firm, which has also invested heavily in a Chinese factory, faces intensifying competition in the electric vehicle industry.
Mr Musk made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Germany on Tuesday. The company already has an assembly site in the Netherlands, but the plans for Germany are on a far larger scale.
I wonder what penalised the UK option? Besides a General Election and Brexit...
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:23 PM   #2
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Well, Tesla is building its Gigafactory on the planned, but cancelled site of a BMW factory in Brandenburg.
  • Lots of space already available for a large factory
  • Much more space available for expansion
  • Building permit is thus easily obtained, they just need to copy the old permit for BMW and put Tesla in its place
  • Right next to the Autobahn A10
  • Commuter trains from Berlin end just a few hundred meters away
  • Large pool of skilled employees
  • Many universities around, good R&D culture around Berlin, popular among Startups
  • Many Tesla suppliers are already in the neighborhood or operate not far away
  • Many other large engineering related companies produce next door, like Bombardier or Rolls Royce
  • International Airport only some distance away and will be much closer should the BER ever open
  • German government doubled the subsidy for electric cars just a few weeks ago (Making the ID.3 of Volkswagen just as expensive as a similar VW Golf 8, the Model 3 is in the same price range right now)
  • A good central site for the planned R&D center for Tesla in Europe is also already proposed inside Berlin Marzahn, additionally to the estate in Brandenburg
  • And of course, many Tesla managers are German, so the German culture is also not alien to them
  • And since we are expecting a worldwide economic recession in the next years, the reliable but boring Germany is much more interesting than the more exciting places for libertarian economists.

And of course the killer argument in case of the UK: A very professional and reliable government on federal and state level. The negotiations happened very silently despite a state election during that time, no involved politician used the possible Tesla deal as election argument or promise. Musk especially mentioned that yesterday.

Of course the rather poor state of Brandenburg badly wants large industry and will likely help Tesla there as much as German and EU law will allow and WTO rules tolerate.

From what I can tell from the Volkswagen tribe, many there feel good about Tesla going to Germany since it gives them a lot of confidence that their choice of going towards full electric in the future and investing billions in developing the MEB (Modulares Elektrisches Baukastensystem, modular electric construction kit) for its future cars was the right decision despite many other German car manufacturers calling them nuts. Looks like Tesla also has faith in the European market.

And at least Volkswagen seems to some sort of admire Tesla just like it is the other way around: VW started to construct cars similar to what Tesla does (ID.3 and Golf 8 are both more similar to a Tesla technically, but with the full power of the VW supplier chain), while Tesla tried to become much more German in terms of production planning (they even bought one of the most advanced German companies for that strategy)
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:25 PM   #3
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Electric cars are much better suited to the European market, tbh. Everything is much closer together than the US, and the petrochemical industry doesn't seem to have it's talons sunk nearly as deeply into your governments.
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:53 PM   #4
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For Urwumpe #3 above.

Well, nice bullet points, I assume you passed it on to Elon?

Have to agree with all that, the current state of political paralysis in the UK is clinical.

I'll admit to a light bias as I bought an i3 a couple of years ago. Nice car, not what you'd call pretty, but good at what it does.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Notebook View Post
 Well, nice bullet points, I assume you passed it on to Elon?


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Originally Posted by Notebook View Post
 I'll admit to a light bias as I bought an i3 a couple of years ago. Nice car, not what you'd call pretty, but good at what it does.
The i3 was a really nice experiment of a car in many different ways, but wrong company and maybe a bit too early to be on the market. It was also the first small car by BMW since the BMW 700.

Would have been more fun with a BMW Isetta style front door...
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:59 PM   #6
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Well, I can remember the "bubble-car" era, Heinkel Trojan and Meschermitt?

Two of the engineers at work had a Heinkel and a Triumph Spitfire. They always tried to park next to each other...

I had a look at various electric types and didn't really like the hybrid. Two engines driving the same gearbox, too complex for me.
The i3 I have has a range extender, small petrol engine just drives a generator when needed. Not sold in the UK anymore, just the pure electric. Don't know why.
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Old 11-14-2019, 07:25 AM   #7
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 Two of the engineers at work had a Heinkel and a Triumph Spitfire. They always tried to park next to each other...
Just read about the Spitfire...which madman builds a roadster with positive camber?

First rule of my other job: The camber angle is always slightly negative. Always. If it is positive, it is very likely a bug.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:28 AM   #8
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It was quite popular at the time, though suffered from being based on the Triumph Herald saloon chassis. Had a single leaf-spring rear suspension, if I remember right. The positive camber was apparent from the rear. Very small turning circle, same as the Herald.

Not a bad car, of its time.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:22 AM   #9
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 Not a bad car, of its time.
Compared to what. In its price range maybe, since the Spitfire wasn't the most expensive Roadster. But there had been way better cars around in the 1960s. Just take a look at the Porsche 356, already from 1948 - still with VW Type 1 technology under the hood.

One year after the first Spitfire was available, Porsche started selling their famous 911 - about twice the price of a Spitfire (when converting pounds to DM) for twice the fun.

The Spitfire was pretty harshly criticized in Germany, when reading the historic reviews of it on Wikipedia, the final model got blasted for its poor production quality.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:35 AM   #10
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You have to remember that UK cars in the 60's were generally rubbish. They used to rust as you looked at them. Engineering was mostly pre/early post-war. Side-valve engines were still common, leaf springs ruled with their inherent damping(rust).

No wonder we took solace in how a car looked. You have to admit the Spitfire was pretty, and had a good name.

Foreign imports were luxury models considering the state of the pound.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:59 AM   #11
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 You have to remember that UK cars in the 60's were generally rubbish. They used to rust as you looked at them. Engineering was mostly pre/early post-war. Side-valve engines were still common, leaf springs ruled with their inherent damping(rust).
Yeah, the same happened with motorcycles. I wonder if the same kind of island technology will return with the Brexit, with Britain again no longer giving a damn about what the rest of the world does...

Maybe British motorcycles will return from the dead. But the Norton Manx really looks like a dinosaur compared to others of its era.

Last edited by Urwumpe; 11-14-2019 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:56 PM   #12
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Don't know much about m/c, except they got wiped out when the Japanese models arrived.

Brexit; we have to get through the election first!
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:01 PM   #13
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Looks like our tiny quarrel is way more serious than I initially believed.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-t...RabsocCQHW5bRw
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