This week in Europe: Tesla Model 3, Berlin's $1.13bn BND headquarters, UK advances trials of self-driving cars

- Leadership - Feb 08, 2019

Business Chief takes a look at three of the biggest stories from Europe this week.

Tesla’s Model 3 rolls off the boat

On Wednesday, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla made its first deliveries of Model 3 sedans to Europe. Car shipments from California docked in Belgium, ready to be sold to buyers who had, in some cases, been waiting for almost three years, according to MarketWatch.

The launch of the Model 3 in Europe also coincided with a US$1,100 price cut to the vehicle, for which Tesla has reportedly received almost 14,000 orders. The company is also reportedly planning on building a factory in Germany to manufacture its lithium-ion batteries.

Berlin’s biggest state secret

“No mobile phones. No private laptops. No checking personal emails or social media. And at the end of the day, all access cards must be locked in a safe.” A Guardian report released on Friday describes the working conditions at the newly finished Berlin division of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Taking 12 years to build and costing $1.13bn, the building will expectedly house 4,000 employees and was made using over 20,000 tons of steel.

In a visit to the building on Friday, Angela Merkel said “In an often very confusing world, now, more urgently than ever, Germany needs a strong and efficient foreign intelligence service.”

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UK Government accelerates self-driving car program

In a press release distributed on Wednesday, the UK Government said “a process is being developed to support advanced trials of automated vehicles.” These advanced trials, according to TechCrunch, mean trials without human safety drivers. The initiative is further demonstration of the UK’s commitment to its goal of testing fully driverless car on UK roads by 2021.

In a statement, Richard Harrington, automotive minister, said: “We want to ensure through the Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge that we build on this success and strength to ensure we are home to development and manufacture of the next generation of vehicles. We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the Code of Practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads.”

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