Tesla officials have been discussing the possibility to establish a first factory in Europe for a while now. I say a “first factory”, but Tesla already has a plant in Europe – in Tilburg – but only for final assembly processes.
Earlier this year during a special event for Tesla owners at the automaker’s French headquarters in Chambourcy, CEO Elon Musk reiterated that in the near future Tesla will need to establish some manufacturing capacity in Europe – referring to a full-fledged factory to manufacture cars.
At the time, he nonchalantly brought up the possibility to build its first European electric car factory in Alsace, a northeastern French region on the Rhine River plain bordering Germany and Switzerland. It didn’t take long for French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal to suggest a site and meet with executives.
Now Spain wants to throw its hat in the ring and launches a campaign to attract Tesla’s first European factory.
Like Royal, the local government of Paterna near Valencia has also proposed a site for the factory. In an open letter signed by “The Spanish people”, the group tries to boast the location:
Paterna is located roughly 6 miles Northwest from Valencia, and it has just been approved to apply as one of the candidates for your factory. Let us try to explain why we believe Paterna is your best choice:
First of all, 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.
Being a few miles away from Valencia means having an international airport and the most important merchant harbor of the entire Mediterranean Sea at your disposal. As you read this letter, international high speed train lines (the Mediterranean Railway Corridor project) are also being built from Valencia to other countries, such as France and Germany.
While Spain was hit hard by the global recession, the country has been powering through a recovery for the past two years – yet it could certainly use a project with the scale of Tesla’s manufacturing plants.
Following Tesla’s announcement that it plans to double its total production output to 500,000 vehicles in 2018 and 1 million in 2020, Musk was asked by analysts how and where he plans to manufacture those vehicles.
While as previously mentioned, he has been talking about plans to build vehicle factories in Europe and China, he said for the first time that Tesla could manufacture up to 1 million cars per year at its Fremont factory.
Company officials have always referred to the Fremont plant’s total capacity to be around 500,000 cars per year in the past. The new estimated capacity could slow down Tesla’s plans for more factories, but Musk was also clear that it makes more sense to build manufacturing capacity close to consumers.
The Spanish group launched a website and video campaign to grab the company’s attention: