Posted on December 04, 2016 by Matt Pressman
During the 2016 first quarter earnings call, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] CEO Elon Musk admitted, "at some point its going to make sense to have a plant in Europe and China... [and that it] makes sense to do localized production on a continent basis." Could Tesla open up production outside the US? And, could Tesla want to consolidate automotive and battery production operations in one plant when the next Gigafactory opens abroad? We've already discussed some possibilities (mostly just rumors) in China. That said, let's take a look at some of the other countries jockeying for position to get the next Tesla Gigafactory.
In addition to Musk's interest in China, another country in Asia appears to be in play. According to International Business Times, states in India are competing for Tesla: "The chief ministers of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have sent separate envoys in a bid to woo business magnate Elon Musk and bag a project to set up a manufacturing plant for California-based electric carmaker Tesla Motors." This follows prior overtures as "Musk had earlier said that the company may set up a Gigafactory in India to make lithium-ion batteries after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tesla Motors' facilities in September 2015."
Above: India appears to be working hard to attract Tesla (Youtube: CNBC-TV18)
And Europe is also competing for Tesla's Gigafactory 2. As reported in Learn Bonds*, "the Netherlands joined the list of countries hoping to attract the Gigafactory. Dutch Development Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp told the House that he is working on how to 'actively engage to persuade' Tesla to bring his plant the country. He says, he will 'certainly strive to achieve the production plant to the Netherlands.' However, Netherlands is at a vantage position to attract the Gigafactory because Tesla already has a final assembly line plant in Tilburg. The assembly plant has a capacity of 450 vehicles per week, it employs 180 people and it has more room to grow."
Above: A look at Tesla's assembly plant in Tiliburg, Netherlands (Image: InsideEVs)
It's also reported that, "France is another [possible] home for Giga 2 and France could win the deal if Musk makes a choice based on sentiments. In April, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal told Elon Musk to think about building a plant in Alsace, France months before Musk thought about putting the Giga 2 in Europe. Royal even went as far as suggesting that Musk could convert the Fessenheim nuclear plant into a plant for making EVs. In her words, 'I told him – I have a place for you – Fessenheim. He [Musk] didn’t say 'no'. Who dares, wins. […] It would be wonderful since we are already announcing the closing of Fessenheim and we build something else. We turn the page and look to the future. And electric cars are the industry of the future.'"
Above: Campaign to bring Tesla to Alcase, France (Youtube: BlackBlitz)
Spain is also a possibility as "one month after France offered Musk... Spain also threw its hat into the ring to attract a Tesla plant. The local government of Paterna (about 6 miles from Valencia) has sent an open letter to Tesla asking that the plant be brought to its land. In fact, 1 part of the letter signed by 'The Spanish People' reads 'Paterna has one of the best industrial parks in Spain, with many specialized automobile industry suppliers, since Ford’s factory is already located a couple of minutes away from it. One of the first Tesla Superchargers in Spain can be found there and many worldwide renowned companies have branches in Paterna, like Schneider Electric.'" And, Tesla just officially launched vehicle sales in Spain as well [see below].
Above: Although not yet confirmed, this appears to be Tesla's official launch video for it's first presence in Spain in the city of Barcelona (Youtube: RNX LYL)
There is also traction in, "Portugal [which] is using a grassroots approach to lure Tesla over into the country. The country now has a “Bring Tesla Gigafactory to Portugal” Facebook group [with] about 25K members. It also brainstorms ideas on how to attract Giga 2 to the country. The group also tries to find suitable locations for the Giga 2 part of its activities." The Tesla community has a long history of grassroots efforts to increase Tesla's presence in the country. This video (see below) to get Portugal's first Tesla Service Center got approval directly from Elon Musk.
Above: Earlier this year, a grassroots effort from Portugal's Tesla community had lobbied to get a Tesla Service Center, now they're working towards a Gigafactory (Youtube: Filipe View)
And, this week, Finland also just threw it's hat in the ring. According to a website designed to court Tesla: "The City of Vaasa, on the Western coast of Finland, has announced it is preparing a proposal for the Tesla Gigafactory... The advantage of Vaasa as a location is that it is the most important energy technology centre in the Nordic countries. Kaustinen, which lies nearby, has the biggest lithium deposits in Europe. Lithium carbonate is the key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries." Here's what the Mayor in Vaasa, Finland has to say to Tesla...
Above: Mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry, makes the case for Tesla in Finland (Youtube: Siltaloppi Productions Oy)
The Space Invader reports that, "Some sources close to TSI have revealed that whilst nothing has been set in stone, there is a high chance of Tesla locating its new Gigafactory just north of Prague, Czech Republic." They cite lower wages and cheap land as a draw. In addition, "the Czech Republic has huge deposits of lithium; the core ingredient of the Tesla battery.... [and] In Dubi, northern Bohemia, about 330,000 tons of lithium lies underground and work has started in the area to begin the extraction. Otto Janout from a company called Geomet, received the permits and cite Elon Musk as his reason for excitement over lithium extraction in the region."
Above: Tesla vehicles at a Tesla rental location, Electric Park, in Prague (Instagram: dhasala)
Although it seems things are really heating up in India, it appears Europe is also gaining traction, Futurism reports that, "it’s crucial that the company continues to scale up its production rate, and several European nations are eager to be part of the endeavor... Musk, for his part, assures Europe that Tesla will be bringing more of its manufacturing to the continent very soon: 'There’s no question that long-term Tesla will have at least one – and maybe two or three – vehicle and battery factory locations in Europe.'"
*Source: Learn Bonds