Tesla’s search for perfect site for European gigafactory “doesn’t exist”

Fake news, pie-in-the-sky or just clever marketing? We may never know, but the national verve for Tesla to site its first European gigafactory in Portugal got a major slapdown on Sunday, when the company’s marketing man said the issue simply “doesn’t exist”.

There are no plans of any kind for a gigafactory in Europe right now, Jorge Millburn told Expresso, and there actually never have been.

“We haven’t even started looking for a location for this factory”, he said – leaving the question over who may have started the rumour that they had, and why.

The economy ministry has apparently “refused to make any comment on the subject”, though Expresso recalls secretary of state for the environment Jorge Mendes mentioning the gigafactory in December, if only to say he had “nothing” to report about it.

So what does bring this rising-star electric car manufacturer to Portugal, Expresso asks in a story featuring Millburn posing in the back seat of one of Tesla’s latest models outside Estoril’s palatial Palace hotel.

The answer is a car dealership, with its own maintenance service manned by a specialised team – and of course the three Tesla superchargers, as per the company’s announcement at the end of 2016 (click here).

The superchargers, says the blurb, will ensure that a Portuguese-registered Tesla car can travel from Europe to the Polar Arctic Circle using well-placed superchargers along the way.

Tesla will also have a network of electric charging stations in museums, hotels, commercial centres, sports complexes and “other similar locations”, Millburn has told Expresso.

Thus for now, it is more a question of selling its wares, than creating employment manufacturing them on European soil.

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