Now that Ford has pulled the plug on its plant in Genk, Belgium — the latest in a series of blows to the region — the locals are trying to ring the red phone in Elon’s office and pitch the Genk plant as a European retrofit opportunity, akin to what Tesla did with the old Toyota/GM plant in Fremont, CA.
Tesla already has two plants in Tilburg, Netherlands — one operating and one under construction — but they’re just “final assembly” plants, not “build from scratch” like in Fremont.
Tesla foresees Europe buying as many Teslas as the US, and it plans to expand to full production in Europe at some point, likely when it sells 160k units per year. Slovakia and Tesla have been chatting about a full factory, and the Slovak Economy Ministry is thrilled to tell the press all about it. Well, now the Belgians have launched a new site called “Welkom Tesla,” aimed at convincing Tesla to take over the Belgian Ford plant and usher in the 21st Century. So far the site contains little except reader comments. Among the comments is this mayday letter sent to Elon some years ago. It sums up the thinking behind the initiative. This is filtered through Google Translate, so it might actually be about a new waffle recipe or something:
This brewing competition between European countries echoes the Gigafactory competition we witnessed in the United States, except without any official solicitation from Tesla — which indicates Europe is desperately looking to Tesla as a new industrial superhero. This certainly bodes well for incentive packages, should Tesla decide to make a move.