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French minister offers shuttered nuclear plant site for Tesla’s first EU factory, will meet Tesla this month

alsace tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was in France earlier this year. During a special event for Tesla owners at the automaker’s French headquarters in Chambourcy, Musk reiterated that in the near future Tesla will need to establish some manufacturing capacity in Europe. But this 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.

The comment wasn’t really serious and Musk only brought it up as a potentially good option geographically speaking, but the comment certainly didn’t fall on deaf ears. Today, French Energy Minister Ségolène Royal said that she already suggested a site to Elon Musk and she will meet with “Tesla executives” later this month.

Royal, an influential politician and former presidential candidate, suggested building a Tesla factory at the Fessenheim nuclear plant, which is about to start its shutdown process. She admitted that the complexity to transform the site could be a problem (decontamination can take years), but it didn’t stop her from suggesting it directly to CEO Elon Musk – via

“I told him – I have a place for you – Fessenheim. He [Musk] didn’t say “no”. Who dares, wins. […] It would be wonderful since we are already announcing the closing of Fessenheim  and we build something else. We turn the page and look to the future. And electric cars are the industry of the future.”

The French government announced that it will start the process of shutting down the plant by the end of the year. Royal is under pressure to find an alternative to create jobs in the region.

While it’s far from being a done deal, the people of Alsace are excited at the possibility of Tesla coming to their corner of the world, and even created a video to promote the idea:

Tesla already has a factory in Europe – in Tilburg – but only for final assembly processes. In the past, Musk often talked about establishing more manufacturing capacity in other regions, especially Europe and Asia. Tesla is reportedly considering a factory location in Suzhou, China.

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  1. freedomev - 7 years ago

    Of all countries France is the one NOT to put a factory in as just too much hassle, cost.

    • Jens - 7 years ago

      Indeed, from an employer point of view, France must be a nightmare. They”re on general strike about almost everything at least once or twice a year. Must be the least productive industry in central Europe.
      On the other hand, Renault is the only european car manufacturer with some volume in electric car production. And France desperately needs investors. Germany’s BMW will fight a local Tesla factory to the bone…

  2. Atlantis - 7 years ago

    As someone very active in environment things I’m very surprise to see that Madame Segolène Royale suggested such deal as for decommissioning and to make the site secure for human activity it will take several decades and billions of Euros. Sorry, but this idea was a dead one even before being submitted.

    • Nathanael - 7 years ago

      Yep. Tesla needs their plant open in, oh, about 2 years. They will not get all the nuclear waste out of the cooling ponds for a decade.

    • Jens - 7 years ago

      Perhaps, it’s more about the implication, that they suggest, it would be safe to do so.
      France is very pro-nuclear, has many plants. They will have really big problems when they realize, decomissioning a nuclear plant costs horrifyingly much and the are will be wasteland for decades.

  3. Josh - 7 years ago

    They should put a factory in Poland if anywhere. Just look at how Fiat and Opel benefited from their workforce quality. It’s a real no-brainer.

  4. Heleauto - 7 years ago

    I dont want radioactive Tesla car!!!

  5. hairy - 7 years ago

    Only reason France is viable option, bc France could probably finance whole plant.


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