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Tesla is looking at Gigafactory sites in Lower Saxony, local govt says

Tesla has been talking about building a Gigafactory in Europe to build electric vehicles and batteries for years, but it now says that it is finally closing in on a site.

The local government in Lower Saxony now says that Tesla is particularly interested in a few sites in the region.

According to a report from Nordwest Zeitung, Bernd Althusmann, State Minister for Economic Affairs, said that he has been “accompanying” Tesla in evaluating local sites, especially one near Emden, which is located on the coast next to the border with the Netherlands, where Tesla’s European headquarters are located.

A site in Emsland is also reportedly being considered.

Althusmann says that Tesla is not looking to build a factory for batteries but only for electric vehicle production — not unlike what is currently happening with Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai right now.

According to the politician, who has previously approached Tesla after the company showed interest in a European factory, the Tesla factory would create between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs.

Tesla European Factory

It’s not well-known, but Tesla has had a “final assembly” factory in Europe for a long time.

The factory is located in Tilburg in the Netherlands and the automaker expanded the factory to a new 78,000 square-meter (840,000 sq-ft) facility back in 2015.

Tesla’s Tilburg factory performs the final assembly process and testing for Model S and Model X vehicles going to certain European markets, including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Germany. The plant has an indoor test-track for quality testing before the cars go out to new owners.

But Tesla has also been talking about deploying more significant manufacturing capacity in Europe to be able to build cars from scratch in the market.

Tesla European Gigafactory

CEO Elon Musk has been talking about a full battery and vehicle factory in Europe for a while now.

Several European countries have even launched campaigns to try to attract Tesla to their home market.

Tesla was supposed to confirm a location for a factory in 2017, but it never happened.

Last year, Musk said that Germany is the “leading choice” for a factory in Europe and he even specified that “the German-French border makes sense” for a factory near the Benelux countries.

Now Tesla says that it is “accelerating” its effort to bring a Gigafactory to Europe.

The automaker wrote in its latest shareholder’s letter last month:

“We are also accelerating our European Gigafactory efforts and are hoping to finalize a location choice in the coming quarters.”

In a conference call following the release of the letter, Musk added:

“We also have to finalize a location for our European Gigafactory before the end of the year.”

The CEO also said that he expects construction will be “well underway” within the next 12 to 18 months and will have the European Gigafactory operational by the end of 2021.

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