Tesla’s planned design centre in Berlin could be home to a dedicated European model of electric car. Tesla boss Elon Musk hinted at this during the European Conference on Battery Cell Manufacturing. He spoke about the next generation of battery cell technology but also talked about the Berlin factory and his experiences driving in the city.
His reasons for a dedicated model are two-fold. The first being the availability of talent in Europe. During the conference, Musk said: “I think there’s a lot of talent, talented designers and engineers, in Europe. And a lot of the best people, they want to work somewhere where they are doing original design work.”
Tesla currently attracts top talent in the USA and it looks like it’ll do the same at its Berlin Gigafactory.
Musk also said that during one of his visits to Germany, he struggled to find a parking space large enough for the Model X. This suggests the European model will be a compact car of some kind. Despite these hints, Tesla has not released a schedule for the model to be designed in Berlin.
Musk said: “In Europe, I think it would make sense to do I guess a compact car – perhaps a hatchback or something like that. Something that answers ‘what do most people want?’ in a given region. In the US, cars tend to be bigger for personal taste reasons and in Europe, it tends to be smaller. If you try to park in dense urban environments, having a car that fits in tight parking spaces is important.”
Tesla states that the Berlin Gigafactory will be the ‘most advanced high-volume electric vehicle production plant in the world.’ Situated in the municipality of Grünheide and its natural surroundings, an extensive infrastructure of bicycle ways, roads and highways, and direct train connections will serve it, attracting top talent from across Europe.
The Gigafactory will open with the production of the Model Y so it could be a few years before we see a compact Tesla hatchback hitting the streets. Tesla released a concept sketch of a hatchback model earlier this year, which looks perfect for the UK and Europe.