Musk: ‘I think we’re close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia’

Musk: ‘I think we’re close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia’
Photo: Jakob Härter

Last week, head of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk took part in New Knowledge educational marathon organised for students by the Russian government. In the course of his speech, Musk mentioned the possibility of launching an electric car production facility in Russia.

Tesla may eventually build a plant in Russia, says Bloomberg citing the carmaker’s CEO Elon Musk. Speaking at a Kremlin-sponsored event for students on 21 May, Musk covered a number of topics ranging from his hiring practices to artificial intelligence and the future of human consciousness. Among other things, he praised the history of Russia’s space achievements and expressed openness to build a Tesla Inc. factory in the country one day. “I think we’re close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia, and I think that would be great,” said the entrepreneur. “Over time, we will look to have factories in other parts of the world, potentially Russia at some point.”

According to Bloomberg, Russia is not an obvious choice for a Tesla factory, as it has only recently begun to develop infrastructure for battery-powered cars. Fewer than 5,300 used and 700 new electric vehicles were purchased in the country in 2020, reads data of Autostat analytics agency, while analyst of VYGON Consulting Evgeny Tyrtov estimates the total share of electric passenger cars in Russia at less than 0,2%. Nonetheless, Tesla sees some potential in the market, as the company lists five supercharger locations “coming soon” in Russia on its website.

According to Elon Musk, there is “a lot of talent and energy and Russia”. Photo: Tesla Owners Club Belgium

Musk also called for more dialogue between Washington and Moscow. In his speech, he noted that there was “a lot of talent and energy and Russia”. “Hopefully, that energy continues into the future, and I would just like to strongly encourage people to strive to make the future better than the past and to be optimistic about the future,” he said.

Musk’s remarks prompted some Russian governors to offer him to build a Tesla factory in their regions. Later on Friday, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade invited the businessman to come to Russia to discuss a possible partnership. “Dear Elon Musk, we were delighted to learn that you are considering building a factory in Russia. By the way, we have a number of state support measures for local OEMs (Editor’s note: original equipment manufacturers). Come to see us, we’ll talk about it :) Best regards, Ministry of industry and trade of the Russian Federation,” posted the ministry on Twitter.

By Anna Litvina