A small Finnish coastal city prepares an official proposal for becoming Tesla's first European Gigafactory, as part of a plan recently announced by Musk.
Tesla (NASDAQ: Tesla Motors [TSLA]) is still in the process of constructing its first and world's biggest battery production plant Gigafactory in Nevada while Elon Musk is already making plans for the next location. Gigafactory, Tesla's first battery factory of its kind, required substantial funds of about $5 billion to construct and was one of the most expensive Tesla's projects of the last years.
Last month, Musk announced that he wanted to make a "significant investment" in Tesla's European operations that would involve building another production plant, Gigafactory 2, as well as opening an automated manufacturing research centre, reported the Guardian. One part of Musk's plan is already completed: Tesla has recently finalized the purchase of a German automated manufacturing firm Grohmann Engineering, which Musk called Tesla's "first acquisition of significance in our whole history".
"Combined with our California and Michigan engineering facilities, as well as other locations to follow, we believe the result will yield exponential improvements in the speed and quality of production, while substantially reducing the capital expenditures required per vehicle," the company wrote in a statement.
In Tesla's European Gigafactory, Musk wants to realize his dream of making a factory with "machine that builds the machine", implying a fully automatized production process that he plans to bring into reality with the help of Grohmann. After Musk had shared his idea of opening a factory in Europe, several European countries and cities were rumored to prepare bids for Musk, yet no official proposals have been made public, until yesterday.
A small Finnish city of Vaasa decided to try its luck in the "competition" and announced its plans to make a bid. The proposal appeared on the city's blog page yesterday and it seems like Vaasa officials are quite serious about partnering with Tesla on such a large scale. First of all, Vaasa is located on the western coast of Finland next to Kaustinen, which is an area that holds the biggest lithium deposits in Europe. That is why, they continue, it would be a good idea to select a location with the largest resources of lithium carbonate, the key ingredient in Tesla's lithium-ion batteries.
“Vaasa has the perfect qualifications to work as Tesla’s partner, and to be the optimal location of the Gigafactory in Europe. We need visionary and ambitious goals that motivate all who can make a contribution. This is a project that builds Vaasa’s future for several generations to come,” said the Mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry.
Vaasa already hosts an "energy cluster", a group of 140 companies operating in the clean energy sector, that accounts for one third of all tech exports from the country and has a combined turnover of €4.4 billion. The mayor mentioned that the parliament of Finland is also fully supporting Vaasa's "entrepreneurial" courage. In the next months, Vaasa officials will gather a group of expert advisors to help the city polish the proposal to Tesla.