French President Macron is accelerating his plans to put France at the forefront of the zero-emission transition in the automotive industry. After his CO2 tax favoring local-built EVs and announcing a battery plant in Northern France, Macron met with Elon Musk at the Choose France Summit to discuss an investment.
After the summit, which took place in the lush castle of Versailles, where he also had lunch with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Lemaire, Musk said that he was very impressed with the French government. “No announcement today,” he continued, adding he was confident about “significant investments” in France.
A French Gigafactory?
So far, it remains unclear what that investment could be. There have been talks between France and Tesla before when Elon Musk was scouting the continent for a new production unit. Instead, the American billionaire chose Grünheide in Germany, not in the least to defy the German premium brands.
A new Gigafactory is also a possibility, as Macron announced that the summit needed to provide an answer to the Inflation Reduction Act, which subsidizes protectionist manufacturing in the United States.
It is one of the reasons why Tesla put its plans to expand the European Gigafactory adjacent to its plant in Grünheide in the fridge. However, when asked about this possibility, Le Maire kept his secrecy, commenting that this was a battle where nobody was doing anybody any favors.
As Musk is also the owner of SpaceX and Twitter, while Tesla’s department for energy solutions keeps growing, the investment might not even be in the automotive industry. As for its European logistics hub, the EV company operates from Zeebrugge. Not in imminent danger, as the Belgian port works on both import and export and has a substantial competitive advantage in the automotive value chain.
Former investment banker
The Choose France Summit, held for the sixth time this week, moves beyond investment in the automotive industry. Around 200 business leaders were invited. Also, companies like Pfizer, IKEA, and Morgan Stanley promised investments in France. In total, 28 projects were announced worth 13 billion euros, translating into 8 000 jobs.
Undoubtedly, the efforts from the French president, who knows these trade secrets inside out as a former investment banker, must help regain some trust after many voters turned against him because of his unpopular retirement measures.
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