Finnish city to bid for Tesla European gigafactory

By Myles McCormick
Published: Thursday, 15 December 2016

Vaasa authorities hope locally-available lithium supply and established energy technology hub will tempt the EV manufacturer.

The Finnish city of Vaasa is positioning itself as a potential destination for Tesla Motors Inc. to build its European gigafactory.
Local authorities said the city is preparing a proposal, which it will publish in Q1 2017.

The announcement follows an indication by the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer that it will locate its next major battery manufacturing facility in Europe.

In a statement, local authorities cited local supply of raw materials and the city’s position as an established energy technology hub as key factors supporting its bid.

Nearby Kaustinen hosts the biggest lithium deposits in Europe, while the Vaasa energy cluster hosts 140 companies with a combined turnover of €4.4bn.

The mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry, said the city "has the perfect qualifications to work as Tesla’s partner and to be the optimal location of the gigafactory in Europe".

Tesla’s current gigafactory, which is still being expanded though it was officially opened earlier this year, is based in Reno, Nevada, US.

The company received significant tax breaks of $1.3bn to locate in the western American state, prompting outrage from local lawmakers when it signed a supply agreement with Mexico-based Bacanora Minerals Ltd (which has since been terminated).

Legislators were later appeased when Tesla later signed a second agreement with locally-based Pure Energy Minerals Ltd.

According to Vaasa’s statement, the long-term benefits for the state of Nevada from the gigafactory locating there have been calculated at $100bn.

Authorities in Vaasa could not be reached for further comment on the city’s plans at the time of publication.