Tesla boss Elon Musk has said Brexit uncertainty made the UK ‘too risky’ an investment after he announced his new electric car factory would open up in Germany.
Musk announced in the German capital that “we’ve decided to put the Tesla Giga factory Europe in the Berlin area”.
The announcement was made just hours before Boris Johnson was due to give a speech pledging Britain’s “clean energy future” after Brexit.
According to the Telegraph, the prime minister’s first major election speech will highlight promised investments in green energy, from the setting of a West Midlands electric car plant.
But this is likely to be overshadowed by the news of Musk’s decision not to locate his plant in Brexit Britain.
“Brexit has made it too risky to put a Giga factory in the UK,” he told Auto Express.
The new Tesla plant, which will build batteries, power trains and the company’s Model Y car, will be located near the new Berlin airport, and is estimated to provide up to 10,000 jobs.
The concern over Brexit uncertainty is a change of tune for the Tesla boss, who in 2016 downplayed the potential effects of Brexit citing plans to build a research and development base in the UK, but these have since been shelved.
Commenting, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “There is no greater threat to the car industry than a Tory government.
“Boris Johnson’s claims are absurd given that the Conservatives’ handling of Brexit is already scuppering the UK’s automotive industry.
“Only today Tesla has announced that it won’t be building a Giga factory in the UK because of Johnson’s ‘risky’ sell-out Brexit.
“Honda and Ford have already announced plant closures and both Nissan and Vauxhall have warned that the introduction of tariffs would jeopardise their European production.
“Labour will support our car industry and workers by creating thousands of new jobs, boosting electric car sales and tackling the climate emergency. This is the real change Britain needs.”
Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said “you really couldn’t make it up”.
He said: “On Boris Johnson’s first day in Downing Street, Dominic Cummings was pictured wearing a T-shirt picturing a company founded by Elon Musk. Now the very entrepreneur Cummings idolises has chosen not to invest in the UK because of the extreme Brexit being pursued by this government.
“Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is giving a speech at an electric car factory the very same day that we find out this industry is being damaged by his Brexit plans.
“You really couldn’t make it up. This completely demolishes the Johnson and Cummings Brexit fantasy and shows their deluded plans are already costing the country vital investment and making us all poorer.
“The best way to stop this Brexit nightmare, kick Johnson and Cummings out of No. 10 and build a brighter future is to vote Liberal Democrat on December 12.”