Currently reading: Tesla linked to new UK gigafactory in Somerset
Electric car firm is working with Department for International Trade to identify sites for a major UK facility, according to reports

Tesla is considering building a new gigafactory in the UK, with reports suggesting that the electric car firm is evaluating a potential site in Somerset.

A report in Property Week says the Department for International Trade (DIT) is currently looking for a four million square foot site that the Californian firm could use to build a research, development and manufacturing plant. 

It is unknown how many sites have been identified, but the list is believed to include the Gravity industrial park, a ‘smart campus’ currently being developed near Bridgwater in Somerset. The 635-acre site is being built on the site of a former Royal Ordnance Factory, and is intended to attract innovative technology companies.

Tesla boss Elon Musk is reported to have visited the UK last week to discuss plans for the UK facility, although it is unclear if he would have visited the Bridgwater site.

The DIT would not confirm the reports it is working with Tesla, but did say that it is looking for manufacturing sites for electric vehicles. In a statement, it said: “The government is working with industry to help make the UK the location of choice to develop world-class electric vehicle technologies. DIT is working closely with partners to scope out sites for new investment into electric vehicle research, development and manufacturing across the UK.”

There is no confirmation on whether any UK facility would be a full car production factory or would focus on specific technology such as batteries. Last year, Tesla chose to locate its first European factory near Berlin in Germany, with Musk saying that site was chosen over the UK because of “Brexit uncertainty”.

The German site will house production of the Model 3, Model Y and batteries, and is expected to come on stream in 2021.

Tesla currently has car production plants in Arizona and California in the US, and recently opened a gigafactory in Shanghai, China, to build models for the world’s biggest car market.


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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typos1 9 June 2020

Shouldnt Tesla be looking for

Shouldnt Tesla be looking for a site themselves ? The DIT should not be doing it for them, sure encourage businesses here, but its totally wrong to use a government dept and public money to do basic work that a private company could easily do themselves. Maybe we should build it for them ? And staff it for them ? Maybe buy the raw matrials too ?

NavalReserve 9 June 2020

Just batteries probably

If we have no deal, there would only be a 4 per cent tariff on exporting the batteries to Germany.

Good gift from the UK government, low labour costs when the pound sinks, proximity to the mines, what's not to like???

fadyady 8 June 2020

Feel good

That's the first good news I have heard since Coronavirus hit the UK. Hoping it is true