Europe On The Verge Of A Tesla Factory War



Welkom TeslaYou probably forgot that in late 2014, a Belgian town set up a campaign called “Welkom Tesla” in a desperate attempt to revive a Ford plant. Well, now France is trying to court Tesla to build on a moribund nuclear site that borders Germany.

TeslaMondo’s seismograph detects a brewing battle between European nations to site a Tesla plant. Remember the desperate measures taken by American governors to land the Gigafactory? Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry started cruising around California in a Model S to win favor. That kind of thing.

We may witness a repeat writ large in Europe, with nation battling nation. TeslaMondo predicts we’re less than a year aSegolene Royal TeslaMondoway from exactly that.

French Energy Minister Segolene Royal thinks she has drawn first blood with this nuclear plant fixer-upper idea. “Who dares, wins,” she’s telling the press. Well then, madame, Belgium wins.

*Editor’s note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

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66 Comments on "Europe On The Verge Of A Tesla Factory War"

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Unless future automation calls for building a new factory they should retrofit the Gent factory for Model 3 production exclusively while leaving Models S/X final assembly to the Tilburg factory.


What factory in Gent? Volvo is still there…


The linked article (and other sources) says “Genk”, not “Gent”. Is there some confusion about a Volvo plant in Gent?


I know what the article says, but I was confused by this comment. Maybe this user knows something I missed.


A Model 3 factory in a old nuclear plant ? Perhaps then the cars a bit contaminated :-).

deborah 007

Yeah…They need to have that site tested for radiation…



Even old nuclear power plants are better then run of the mill coal burning power plant.

Yes. You have heard it right. Radiation from long operating coal plant is WORSE then from nuclear plan. Just because all that burned coal contain miniscule amounts of radioactive material that is burned with coal and ends up as fallout near the plant.

Only power plants that had catastrophic failure will irradiate premise and surrounding area.




Well, you’ll glow faster! (You’re welcome.) 😉


Putting a factory in France seems unwise. Great Britain sounds better, or maybe in eastern Europe.


Not if Great Britain decides to leave the EU 🙂


Why not? America isn’t in the EU and we don’t have any difficulty buying Teslas from there. MW


The Model S sold in the EU are not directly from the US. The final assembly is in the Netherlands/EU. This saves 10% duty. I think production outside the EU and export to the EU is not an option for Tesla.


It isn’t ‘IF’, it’s going to happen on June 23rd!


You wish

Someone out there

Agreed, Eastern Europe would probably be the most sensible. Labor laws in France are crazy I’ve heard, once you’ve hired someone it’s practically impossible to fire them.


Maybe in the meaning of US hire and fire, but it’s definitely possible. I have some friends over there. It’s just that the company can’t do hire and fire as they like. They need very good reasons. And with giving the employee enough money it’s like always possible.



Six years ago, many of Tesla’s critics were predicting they would be bankrupt by the end of 2013.


Those critics are still there, now they say that tesla will be bankrupt in 2012 🙂


2012? Isn’t it a bit late for that – unless Tesla builds a car with flux capacitor etc. like in back to the future?


They should make a battery factory first, or will they ship the batteries all the way to the EU from Nevada?


Slovakia and Hungary want the factory too


Slovakia is a likely location for a number of reasons. It has the expertise and the resources. Although land locked, it has good communications in terms of rail. And yes, it is comparatively low cost by european standards…


Yeah, but as a citizen of Slovakia, I think we just lose the race for the Tesla factory, because with the new Jaguar factory we will have four car factory in this tiny country already…

Rob Stark

That just means there is a large pool of automotive suppliers and skilled labor to source from.


actually, skilled work force for car factories is currently in short supply in Slovakia – Poland, or Czechia are more likely.


Just like in England…


I think that calling these assembly lines in Slovakia like car factories is way off.
Anyway Tesla assembly line + Tesla Giga anywhere in Europe will be great. Bring them on! Old dinosaurs can watch. 😀


Being Belgian I could be a bit partisan here but indeed the Genk former Ford factory would be a deal similar to the Fremont factory. A large “key on door” ready to run factory that could produce Model 3 in a record tempo.
Otherwise Tesla may build a brand new production factory in Tilburg but it would take less time to adapt the Ford factory than to start from a green field. The workers have been laid off one year ago, but I would bet a lot of them would return if Tesla switched the power to on again.


When that is the case why don’t you make your own electric car?


Yes that could be a possibility, working with “Tesla inside” systems but with another shell and design just to make more choice available. A kind of new extra electric car brand with trusted components to further accelerate global electrification.

Now that would mean Tesla would not only accept to share patents but real components and know how. It would also require a start capital to at least get the trust of banks and market to get more in loans.

The Ford Genk factory is a really big factory for 500000 units/year, so you would kind of bypass the start up stage. That is a challenge but it would be great indeed.


Ford’s old plant is not even close to ready to run.
Tesla has one of the most automated plants going and the model 3 will be far more automated. What will go in there will make the old ford plant look like Henry Ford I built it.


Of course you can improve it with new robots and new systems but that would take less time then starting from asking a building permit on an open field somewhere.


Don’t give companies to many “gifts” resp. regions/countries don’t work against each other! They’ll take it and take the next gift ASAP (like Nokia did).
Have this in mind when writing the “gift contract”!



Sweden! Put it in sweden. We have a history of making cars, plus a big saab factory that seems to be standing still.
We have suplyers used to high volume car production and workforce. And its a non-landlocked contry in the midle of the nordic contrys (very high electric car shear per capita) inside the EU and with good trade bands with norway 🙂

Rob Stark

SAAB factory is owned by NEVS.

Cheaper than Belgium and less red tape than France is a low bar.

Much better prospects East.


When that is the case why don’t you make your own electric car? Why wait for someone like Tesla to come in your land and tell you what to do?

You even make your own weapons with your own hands, so is it much to ask to make a car that has less the 20 moving parts?


Then in the end the quality of Model 3 suits to production land.. French is famous for cars with spinning electric, rust, bad paint.


Put in Germany and you will get a german quality


Than that kills Germany


I don’t know how Tesla could cheat on emissions if we’re going to brag here.


This is getting too much. France wants Tesla the Dutch the Swedes and the Germans. All of them have car factories already yet they all are begging Tesla to build cars in their countries. And by the way all these countries have labor laws that will strangle Tesla. What is happening here? Why all of a sudden they are falling in love with the Americans?

Why can’t the EU do an electric car that has a 200 mile+ range?

Ohm’s law was invented by a German. Tesla was from Croatia, Volt was Italian. What is the matter with you people.


“The EU” doesn’t build cars. Companies do (or don’t).
And therein lies the rub: manager incentives are short-term oriented, EV transition at scale is a long-term thing.

Now, maybe provocative question: why can’t “the US” turn out proper EVs?
Only one small new car maker does (Tesla) and the sales of Tesla are rather miniscule when compared to anything that Ford, Chrysler and GM sell. And the European makers compete with anything that those three offer at the moment. With maybe the exception of the Bolt, but that’s not selling yet, and will still come to Opel/Vauxhall in Europe. Also don’T forget that the Nissan Leaf is a the result of a cooperative venture between Renault and Nissan, so e.g. power train development was done in France.

Progress is slow, I agree, but other than Tesla, no manufacturer is really serious about EVs (yet), including the US makers, Japanese and Korean makers. Maybe that will change with the Bolt, Leaf Mk II and Model 3…


Honestly, it could be computer know-how. Tesla is in Silicon Valley, where amazing coders are readily available. Yes, building a car is mostly a hardware endeavor, but Tesla is making the computerized portion of the car larger and larger.

Case in point: Their OTA updates. You buy a Tesla today and it’s better tomorrow. Not by a little bit either. Current rumors mention an update to Ludicrous Speed that makes the car even faster. Over the air.

That level of skill just isn’t available everywhere. Just like China’s manufacturing capabilities aren’t available everywhere. What does Eastern Europe have to offer other than an inexpensive workforce? The Trabant? 😉


Such arrogance and foolishness.
Tesla Model S outsells EVERYTHING in its class in America, and appears to be headed in the same direction in Europe. Not S class. Not A5, A6. Not Panamera. Etc, etc.etc.

The X is just getting started, but it should outsell things like XC90, X5, X class, cayenne, etc.

And the 3 has already proven that they are going outsell everything in their class.
Once the model 3 factory is started in EU and all of those tariffs are removed, you can bet on it that it will not only outdo its direct competitors, but perhaps all of them combined.


What is the matter with you?
First off, CA’s labor laws are not much different from most of EUs.
Secondly, Tesla may have been BORN in Crotia, but all of his innovation and work was done in America as an American.
Third, you have an issue with a superior company coming in? Why?


I don’t see how they could do it in western Europe, high labor costs, summers off, 35 hour work week. I would look at Poland, has a major port, plenty of available lower cost labor.


Poland has a few empty car factories which could be used. Also, it is quite likely that LG will locate future battery factories there as they base most of their European operations in Poland. While Tesla currently has the strongest partnership with Panasonic investing in the same area as LG and their contractors would not be a bad idea.
Not to mention how convenient this would be for Zachary Shahan who currently lives in Wroclaw to report on new developments :-}


As we speak NATO and Russia are planning a meeting to see how the hell will they carve Eastern Europe.

And you want Tesla to invest there?


You think the US would give us (Slovakia, Czech Rep, Poland and Hungary) away to Russians? Since we’re part of NATO, that would be the official end of the USA as a superpower. I still think Elon will choose Germany for his plant (although I am from Slovakia and wish for a factory to be here). A highly automated plant isn’t so dependent on labor costs plus giving Tesla a “Made in Germany” stamp would be good PR for Tesla and perhaps win over Germans to buy Tesla cars…


Only fools think that America has any real say on what goes on with Eastern Europe.
You need to get past your hatred of America and start looking at facts, rather than just making up wild stories.


Yes, western Europe has such high labor costs compared to California. Sheesh.

Look, Tesla can put the M3 ANYWHERE. Why? Because the MX already has the LOWEST labor hours of any car made. And the M3 is supposed to be even lower.
From what I understand the M3 will require less than 1/2 of the hours that MX does.
As such, they can pay decent wages and still make a profit.


Apparently Tesla had been talking to Slovak government.


I am sorry to say but the French have such a bad reputation for labor relations that it would be like hobbling your own company to invest in a factory there, and they have only themselves to blame. Actions have consequences.

They, The French, also have a reputation for being rude. Of course Americans have that reputation too, but that is more from ignorance than by practice and design.


You don’t know much about France, do you? Strikes can happen in any country. Long holidays are the norm in most of Europe. Making people redundant if necessary can be done like anywhere. My relative works for an American company in Paris and let me assure you – they have no problems letting people go. But why is everyone talking about redundancies on this forum?
I have a French car – citroen and in term of reliability and comfort it beats my relative’s bmw 3 hands down.
And I am not French.


You argue against points not even mentioned by me, though elsewhere on this thread they were brought up.

As regards my knowledge of French labor I said they have a bad reputation, things such as holding bosses hostage, stuff like that.

Yes, while I have no direct personal knowledge, I do read. It is true that there is perception and reality which are sometimes quite different, but in this case I think the perception is a general an accurate one.


Hope Ireland gets a bloody move on! We flaunted ourselves enough to court over almost every Multi-billion euro MNC to create a European base in Dublin.

All that would say nothing if Tesla shows no interest. As Enda awkwardly said to Musk, we got a shut up old Ford factory down in Cork.

F*** I hope we have a running chance at this. We don’t even have an agreed government yet. It’s been almost 2 months since we voted.


Why don’t you do an electric car yourself in Ireland?

Here is an Irish man who did a few


Well, Elon just said that Ireland will be completely covered by superchargers soon.


Just my $0.02…. put it in Serbia. You know why.


Beautiful women are no reason to locate a car plant there. Well, not a very good reason.


Given how automated Tesla production lines are, labour laws are a secondary concern. I think Tesla will do fine regardless of which country they choose.

If I remember correctly, when Elon talked about implementing a factory un Europe, I think he mentionned he was looking for improved logistics.
Alsace, the border region between France and Germany has lots of advantages : there are 2 major highways on each side of the border, and the French side has a long free chunk.
The train tracks in the area are in good condition, the Rhine river has decent available capacity for boat transport.
The region is already home to multiple Peugeot factories so there are a lot of possible automotive parts subcontractors close by.
All Tesla needs is to find where to build the Factory.

The French minister Segolène Royal gave an interview this morning to clarify her proposal : the factory wouldn’t be built on the nuclear plant site but in the area close by. (It’s logic)


To all those commenting on the “strong labour regulations in European countries” that allegedly don’t allow Tesla to invest in a European factory: don’t buy the myths. Luckily Elon Musk is not as badly informed as you guys are.

You can easily make cars in European countries, the labour regulations may be differnt from the US ones, but they are not any more tough than the US ones. It is evidenced by a few companies that building cars in Europe works, in fact, quite well: VW, Daimler, BMW, Renault, PSA (Peugeot-Citroen), Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Mini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Fiat, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Landrover, Volvo…
Heck, even Nissan, Toyota and GM have factories there and the car makers bought by Asian shareholders (e.g. Volvo, Landrover…) continue to design and manufacturer in Europe. If this was only about buying up brands, they’d long have moved to China like in the case of Borgward recently.

In general, Musk prefers the Alsace region, as he told to the Paris crowd gathered in February. And note the reason: the combined expertise of the two countries’ talent and workforce; and note: also design, not only production. Not labour issues and whatnot. Source:


Your end conclusion is quiet different from what Elon says in the youtube sequence you link to. Listen again.


Yes, heaven forbid that we expect our employers to treat us like human beings…I can’t wait for the few remaining unions to be wiped out here in the US so that I can exercise my right to be exploited everywhere! We are just organic machines, after all, yet without capital depreciation to deduct…what a drag on quarterly financials! We should be ashamed of ourselves!

We are the only developed nation without mandatory sick leave…maybe a culture as selfish and ignorant as we are deserves to be exploited…


North of italy could be a great option too: huge network of car parts suppliers, design districts, luxury components and producers just next door (Ferrari, Lamborghini, pininfarina, Alfa Romeo, fiat, iveco, Jeep), it’s close to Germany, Switzerland and France and with access to the sea (Venice or Genova). Work regulation less strict than in France, work labor slightly cheaper than France and Germany and highly skilled people.