While the Buffalo (New York) “SolarCity” plant is apparently being designated by Tesla as Gigafactory 2, the sites of Gigafactory 3, 4, 5, etc., have yet to be revealed … despite being alluded to recently.
What seems likely is that the company will put at least one Gigafactory in Europe, one on the East Coast of the US, possibly one in China, possibly one in India, possibly one in Japan, possibly one somewhere in South America, possibly one in Australia. … In other words, it’s a tossup where the new Gigafactories will end up being located.
Even when it comes to the extremely likely Europe-sited Gigafactory, it’s very unclear which country will end up playing host. Strong cases could be made for the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Germany, Finland, France, or some country in Eastern Europe.
With that in mind, the Swedish city of Trollhättan (home to our friends over at EV Volumes) is apparently now angling to attract the company. The city is, notably, home to one of Saab’s old car manufacturing plants (now owned by China-based NEVS).
Teslarati provides more on that:
“NEVS has a contract with Panda New Energy Company to provide it with 150,000 electric versions of Saab’s last production midsize sedan, the 9-3 sedan.”
“Making 150,000 cars over 4 years is not enough to keep the factory fully operational — it’s capacity is far greater than that. All of which has several people in Sweden thinking it would be the perfect place for Tesla to locate its first European factory.”
In addition to the sheer scale of manufacturing space that’s available, it should also be remembered that there is very likely a substantial workforce in the area that already has experience building cars. Another potential plus is that there’s an international railway hub not that far away (in Gothenburg).
That said, labor in Sweden isn’t exactly cheap, and there seem to be a lot of regulatory hoops that would have to be jumped through that simply aren’t present in many other locations. Also, it’s an open question if Tesla would actually want to utilize an old manufacturing plant, rather than simply design and build a new one itself.
“Sveriges Radio P4 Väst says that a group of local stakeholders is working to attract Tesla to the area. According to reports, the group includes Business Sweden and automotive supplier FKG. Fredrik Sidahl, CEO of FKG, confirms that the group has been in contact with Tesla. Everyone involved is tight lipped when it comes to details, though. Sidahl says the group is confident that it can revive the car industry in Sweden.
“A spokesperson for NEVS would not comment directly on the report but said in an email to Radio P4 Väst that the company could be a valuable partner for other car manufacturers in terms of both production and development.”
As a reminder, a number of other national and regional governments in Europe are now actively courting Tesla as well — including the national government of one of Sweden’s neighbors, Finland.
We can likely expect to learn the site of Tesla’s new Gigafactory before the end of 2017.
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