Published on June 26th, 2018 | by Kyle Field0
German State of Saarland Makes Bid for Tesla Gigafactory in Public Letter
June 26th, 2018 by Kyle Field
The German state of Saarland isn’t pulling any punches in its push to be the home of Tesla’s European Gigafactory. The state was surely stimulated by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s tweet that Tesla was looking at a location in Germany for its European Gigafactory, “perhaps, on the German-French border.”
Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans and Deputy Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger wrote to the CEO in a sales pitch portraying Saarland as the ideal location for Tesla’s Gigafactory. They made the case that, in addition to sharing a border with France and Luxembourg City, Saarland is home to a highly technical automotive workforce, complemented by skills in some of Tesla’s favorite technologies: artificial intelligence and computer science.
Saarland is one of three German states that share a border with France, so it’s already made the short list for the European Gigafactory. Though, it faces some stiff competition from the state of Baden-Würtemberg, home to the city of Stuttgart. Stuttgart is the de facto heart of the German auto industry and is home to Daimler and Porsche, with the engineering and electric products company Bosch there to sweeten the deal further.
The regional leadership team in Saarland invited Elon Musk out to the country for a tour of the best of the region. Landing the Gigafactory represents upwards of 10,000 direct jobs at full capacity in addition to the tens of thousands of indirect jobs a facility the size of the Gigafactory generates. Perhaps more importantly, Tesla and its Gigafactories represent the technology of the future as automotive and energy companies pivot away from fossil fuel-fired technologies towards renewables and electric transportation technologies — all of which run on batteries.
Tesla is not alone in moving into the region to capitalize on the technical workforce Germany is known for. Chinese battery conglomerate CATL announced that it was also looking for the right home in Germany for a €1 billion investment in battery manufacturing capacity — though, its batteries would be built for sale to local automotive manufacturers.
With Elon Musk having already confirmed that Tesla is looking for a location near the French border for the Gigafactory, Saarland has the advantage due to its proximity to Tesla’s Amsterdam Headquarters, its assembly factory in Tilburg in the southern region of the Netherlands that Musk said would remain Tesla’s European headquarters, and also Tesla Grohmann Automation, which is just to the north of Saarland.
Time will tell … or twitter, rather, where Tesla decides to build its European Gigafactory. Until then, we are back to chasing the rumors, the sales pitches, and the tweets. Have a tip about where it might land? DM me on Twitter @mrkylefield.