German newspaper Rheinische Post reported on August 25 that representatives from Tesla have been scouting locations for a possible European factory in the state of North Rhine–Westphalia, which is located in western Germany and shares a border with the Netherlands and Belgium. NRW is that nation’s most populous state and home to three of its major cities — Düsseldorf, Köln, and Bonn. An extensive network of roads and railways connect the region to the rest of Europe.
Unnamed officials of NRW say initial inspections have already taken place. Although, precisely where in the state is not known. Representatives of the government and of Tesla have declined to elaborate further on the subject.
Just north of NRW is the state of Lower Saxony, which also shares a border with the Netherlands and is a little bit closer to the Scandinavian countries which — particularly in Norway — have embraced the transition to electric cars.
The newspaper also quotes Bernd Althusmann, economics minister for Lower Saxony, as saying Tesla has expressed an interest in his state as well, particularly the port city of Emden and the area known as Emsland. More than a year ago, Elon Musk tweeted the Germany was a strong contender for Tesla’s first European factory.
Germany is a leading choice for Europe. Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2018
With Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai on pace to begin building cars before the end of this year, it makes sense for Tesla to turn its attention to Europe. Several European cities, provinces, and countries have been vying for Musk’s attention for years, including Spain, France, Sweden, Poland, Belgium, and more. The cost of shipping cars from California to European destinations must be quite high, and not all of that cost can be passed on to consumers.
Europe is also experiencing a surge in new battery factory construction. Tesla is planning to utilize battery cells made by LG Chem in Nanjing for its Chinese vehicles, so it is logical to assume it would consider using cells made by an outside supplier for any European-built cars.
It will be interesting to find out where Tesla ultimately decides to build its first European factory and why. But no matter the location, the company is clearly not worried about finding enough customers for its cars. Lack of demand? Forgetaboutit!