Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has made it quite clear that Tesla is interested in a factory in Europe in order to meet the demand for its full-electric vehicles and at the same time realized the company’s dream of selling 500,000 cars each year within five years’ time.
France’s official offers Tesla former nuclear site
With the Fessenheim nuclear facility set to close by the end of the year, France’s outspoken Minister of Environment and Energy, Segolene Royal, has formerly asked the living Iron Man to take over the facility located in the Alsace region.
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It would certainly be a change from the ire of Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear power groups, which believe that the older plant threatened Europe, if the plant was to be transformed to an electric car factory. While it could be argued that nuclear power is quite clean, it does have that pesky waste and inherent danger as demonstrated a number of times around the world. Notably in the Ukraine, Japan and so very nearly Pennsylvania in no particular order.
“The main problem is the site’s transformation,” Royal said at a briefing. “We need to give hope to this community. My idea is to bring a Tesla factory.
“I said [to Musk]: ‘I have a place for you, Fessenheim.’ He didn’t say no. Who dares, wins.”
It does seem a good fit if it was economically viable for Tesla to transform the power plant into a factory. Not only has Musk said that Tesla needs a factory in Europe, just last year at the company’s headquarters, Musk specifically mentioned Alsace as a potential location. Was he speaking of the Fessenheim site specifically? Well, he didn’t mention it.
“This is idle speculation, but maybe we could put a factory in Alsace, it’s like half in Germany, half in France, something like that,” Musk did say.
Tesla must meet demand
Following the unveiling of its Model 3, Tesla’s car for the masses, the company received over 275,000 pre-orders and reservations in just the first 48 hours and that number has risen well over 300,000 as of this writing.
While meant to be a “car for the masses,” the Model 3 is far from cheap and these pre-orders alone if delivered would mean well over $10 billion in sales for the upstart automaker.
Alsatian officials are meant to meat with Tesla later this month, hoping to negotiate a deal to see Tesla open its first factory in Europe at the site.
It would be great, because we announced the closure of Fessenheim,” Royal said.
Again, it does seem a good fit.
“We will need to build a factory in Europe to serve long-term regional demand as Fremont reaches max capacity,” Musk wrote on Twitter following the Model 3’s launch.
Presently, Tesla relies on its production facilities in Fremont, California but that plant is nearing capacity four years after its opening and Tesla has quite a few orders to fill.
France and electric vehicles
While the Tesla Model S is a best selling luxury vehicle throughout Europe, France is Europe’s largest consumer and market when it comes to all-electric vehicles.
The country offers €10,000 ($11,000) for the purchase of all-electric vehicles and that is a large portion of the selling price of the Model 3 when orders begin to be delivered.
Musk and his company are in a strong bargaining position if Alsace wants to see Tesla’s first European factory.