Tesla establishes base in Portugal but giga-factory “unlikely”, say sources

With over 46,000 people and local authorities signed up to the “Bring Tesla to Portugal” cause – and the company registering for tax purposes in Portugal – behind-the-scenes negotiators say the likelihood of the electric car and battery manufacturer constructing its much-sought-after giga-factory on national soil is “very low”.

Expresso broke the news on Saturday while activists, backed by local authorities, say they cannot understand why the government is being so negative.

“When something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it”, said activist Miguel Duarte – echoing the words immortalised by Tesla’s pioneering CEO Elon Musk. “We are totally confused. France and Spain are offering deactivated spaces, but in Portugal, nothing seems to be being done”.

As to the north American company setting up its registered office in Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade, little is being explained.

Tesla is “looking for talents and opportunities”, say the company, but stresses it has nothing more to announce.

The “Bring Tesla to Portugal” movement has been making much of the characteristics that give this country an advantage over other potential European sites, including France, Holland and Spain (click here).

The mayors of Torres Vedras and Albergaria-a-Velha took part in a recent debate – which also brought together councils from Guarda, Évora, Beja, Palmela, Aveiro, Penela, Mangualde, Viana do Castelo, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Maia, Cinfães and Sines – saying their boroughs in particular offered extra advantages: Torres Vedras has experience in electric mobility, and Albergaria-a-Velha “is one of the most industrialised areas of Aveiro” close to the Spanish towns of Galiza and Salamanca, as well as the Renault factory in Cacia.

But where all this will lead hinges on an announcement that can only be made by Tesla, and which is unlikely to come before early 2017.

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