Tesla Gigafactory UK rumors spark anew as minister backs Somerset site

Speculations that Tesla’s next dedicated production facility may be located in the United Kingdom have emerged once more after the UK Minister of State for Business recently noted that the government is considering a site that would be able to “sustain an excellent Gigafactory.” The area in question is dubbed “Gravity,” a 635-acre “smart campus” in Somerset currently under development. 

While addressing Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger in the House of Commons, Minister of State for Business Kwasi Kwarteng noted that he believes that Somerset has the “manufacturing skill and competence to be able to sustain an excellent Gigafactory.” Kwarteng also noted the government is “considering and looking” at the site. 

The 635-acre Gravity smart campus in Somerset. (Credit: Somerset Live)

The minister added that the “remarkable” Gravity location is arguably “one of the best sites in the United Kingdom” that “should be considered for the very important future of car manufacturing and battery manufacturing.” Kwarteng also emphasized the UK government’s pledge to support the development of battery and electric vehicle manufacturing projects in the country. 

Rumors of a potential Tesla Gigafactory UK in Somerset initially emerged last summer amid reports that the government was seeking a 4 million sq ft (91-acre) site for the electric vehicle maker. Gravity was among the locations reportedly attempting to secure a contract with Tesla. However, updates on the potential Gigafactory UK site eventually became dormant, though reports emerged last month that a letter addressed to Tesla CEO Elon Musk had been sent to the Gravity site. 

While the idea of a Tesla Gigafactory UK remains to be speculation, for now, the 635-acre Gravity site in Somerset does have several strategic advantages. The site is only one of a handful of locations in Britain that is large enough to host a Tesla facility, for one, and it features a direct link road to Junction 23 of the M5. Purpose-built onsite freight and passenger rail terminals are also present in the location. 

As noted in a Somerset Live report, experts from the UK have remarked that a Tesla plant in Britain could be a “smart move” for the electric car maker considering the country’s aggressive sustainability goals. The Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research and skills development, has estimated that Britain would likely need one Gigafactory by 2022, two Gigafactories by 2025, and eight Gigafactories by 2040 to meet the country’s demand for EVs and battery-based products. 

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