Could Vietnam be on the cards for Tesla?

July 14, 2020 | 14:00
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The man working to revolutionise transport both on Earth and beyond may have one eye on Vietnam after hinting at a possible new Tesla factory in Asia.
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Could Vietnam be on the cards for Tesla? - illustration photo

South African-born American entrepreneur Elon Musk, who founded Tesla Motors in 2003, is currently pushing ahead with new factory construction near Berlin in Germany as well as one in Austin, Texas.

On top of those major initiatives, the group is also expanding its gigafactory in Shanghai and adding more production capacity at both the gigafactory in Nevada and facility in Fremont.

The new production capacity is expected to support the company’s plan to be able to deliver one million electric vehicles every year.

But Tesla does not plan to stop there. It is expected to build several more factories as part of its mission to accelerate the advent of electric transport and renewable energy and last week, Musk hinted at where the next factory could end up.

When asked on Twitter if Tesla plans to expand mega factories in Asia outside China, the CEO answered in the affirmative. “Yeah, but first we need to finish Giga Berlin and a second US Giga to serve the eastern half of North America,” he explained.

While Musk confirmed the group’s idea, he failed to offer any specifics beyond Asia, but people were quick to send suggestions such as Japan and South Korea that both have strong existing automotive industries, and even Vietnam. While obvious advantages lay with the likes of Japan and South Korea for the billionaire’s next move, Musk will know that Vietnam can also offer a stable government, low-cost labour, and strong chances of avoiding mass delays or other obstructions thanks to the current coronavirus pandemic.

The CEO did not offer a timeline beyond the completion of the current two factories under development, but that might happen quickly based on Tesla’s own timelines for the two factories, which are supposed to start production by the end of next year.

According to green energy and e-vehicle news site Electrek, Japan and South Korea would be the frontrunners for such a facility as those markets already have strong talent in the automotive business, and Tesla has ties to important battery manufacturers and suppliers based in both countries.

However, it also noted that some Southeast Asian markets could offer some good locations for Tesla, and Vietnam would certainly be in the mix.

Elon Musk became a multimillionaire in his late 20s when he sold startup company Zip2 to a division of Compaq Computers. He founded in 1999, which later became PayPal, and SpaceX in 2002.

In 2012, SpaceX made history when the company launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space with an unmanned capsule. It reached the International Space Station with 1,000 pounds of supplies, marking the first time a private company had sent a spacecraft to the station.

By Quang Hai

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