The French minister of ecology and energy wants Tesla to begin manufacturing cars at a repurposed nuclear facility in northeast France. At a briefing held Tuesday, Ségolène Royal said she had already mentioned the idea to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and that she would meet with Tesla management within 10 days.
The Fessenheim nuclear plant, located in the Alsace region near the German border, is France's oldest nuclear facility. The plant will begin shutting down this year, officials have said, though the plan has faced backlash from local labor groups amid concerns over job losses.
"He did not say no."
"The main problem is the site's transformation," Royal said at the briefing, according to AFP. "We need to give hope to this community. My idea is to bring a Tesla factory."
Musk has said he wants to build a Tesla factory in Europe, and mentioned Alsace at an event in Paris this year, though he stressed that it was just "idle speculation" and "not a prediction." France is the largest electric car market in Europe, thanks in part to government policies that offer bonuses of up to €10,000 for EV purchases. Royal had previously suggested that the Fessenheim plant could be used to manufacture electric cars in March.
At Tuesday's briefing, Royal said that Musk was deliberating over whether to build a plant in France or Germany. "I told him, 'I have a place for you, Fessenheim,'" she said, adding: "He did not say no."