Elon Musk wants to produce Tesla electric cars and batteries in Europe - Portugal is being studied as one of the locations.
Tesla management is said to have been talking ‘at the highest level’ within Portugal’s government to install its European giga-factory in the sun-blessed country.
The US company wants to manufacture cars and lithium-ion batteries, "Tesla has already approached the Portuguese Government and there have been talks in this direction," revealed a source at the Ministry of Economy.
An industrial investment of this magnitude would make António Costa's government look incredibly cool and help start to build Portugal’s image as a renewable energy centre of excellence as the giga-factory runs on solar power produced from hectares of PV panels on the roof.
Economy Minister, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, is saying nothing for now, but will have his eye on the number of jobs that can be created if the US company takes a shine to Portugal.
The project is huge, Tesla will create 6,500 direct jobs and more than 22,000 indirect jobs and will invest five billion US dollars to build the plant. Many of the indirect jobs will be at suppliers to the factory with dozens of local companies and factories created to support the factory's production.
Spain also is being studied, in particular Galicia despite its rainfall and cloud cover. "There is no doubt that in the long term, Tesla will have one, and maybe two or three, European car and battery factories," Elon Musk told investors in early November 2016.
Tesla already has a factory in the Netherlands but it does not produce cars, it assembles them from imported parts ex-USA. The brand’s new lower cost car is due to be launched next year with target sales of 500,000 cars in the coming years.
A Tesla giga-factory produces much of the energy it consumes through solar panels installed on its roof.
This is precisely one reason why Tesla is looking at Portugal and Spain, as the Iberian Peninsula is one of the European regions with the highest solar radiation.