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Tesla (TSLA) scouts factory sites in Quebec and Ontario

Tesla has now disclosed that it is lobbying the Canadian government for an accelerated permitting process to build a factory in the country. At the same time, it reportedly scouted factory sites in Quebec and Ontario.

We have been reporting on evidence that Tesla has been looking at a potential factory in Canada.

In June, Electrek obtained a recording of a companywide meeting held by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, during which he confirmed that Tesla is looking at sites in North America, and the CEO hinted at Canada. Musk did it again at Tesla’s annual shareholders’ meeting earlier this month, and the effort was confirmed through a lobbying disclosure by the automaker with the Ontario government in Canada.

Now Electric Autonomy Canada reports that Tesla went on a site-scouting expedition in Ontario and Quebec during a trip to visit Vale Canada last month:

Multiple sources with knowledge of the matter, but not authorized to speak, told Electric Autonomy that, earlier this month, high-level Tesla employees visited Vale Canada operations in Sudbury, Ont., just ahead of the Mercedes-Volkswagen announcements. That trip, sources say, was part of a larger location scouting mission by Tesla in Ontario and Quebec to seek out potential manufacturing locations.

Earlier this year, Tesla confirmed that it is buying nickel from Vale.

Electric Autonomy Canada also reports that Tesla filed a new lobbying disclosure that states it is asking the federal government’s support to engage with provinces for a faster permitting process:

Tesla’s updated federal lobbying objectives now read as follows: “Seek government support to facilitate the engagement with provinces regarding permitting timelines, to increase the competitiveness of Canada and its ability to attract capital through approvals timeframes that are competitive with other manufacturing locations while working with government to identify incentives to further increase the attractiveness of Canada.”

We reported that Tesla met with François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s federal minister in charge of innovation, science, and industry, last month.

While Musk has been teasing the announcement of the location of a new Gigafactory, which generally entails vehicle production, Tesla might also be interested in building battery or battery materials in Canada and securing local resources.

Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz both recently announced a deal with the Canadian government to work to secure resources to build batteries.

There’s currently a rush in the country to finance new mining projects, and companies are encouraged to keep the refining of battery materials in the country.

Electrek’s Take

Like I said when we first started hearing about a potential Tesla factory in Canada, it is going to come down to speed of permitting and construction.

Tesla will likely go with the province that will offer an experience closer to what Tesla had in Austin with Gigafactory Texas than in Germany with Gigafactory Berlin.

When Tesla gives the greenlight, it wants to be able to quickly build the factory and deploy production capacity – long and complicated permitting processes and environmental assessments generally prevent that.

It will be interesting which province – and it sounds like it is between Ontario and Quebec – will be able to make that offer.

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