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Ministry: Vaasa competing for Tesla Gigafactory in Finland

Late last year Vaasa officials announced they want to bring a planned European Tesla Motors Gigafactory to the region. Economy Minister Mika Lintilä says the government will be working with Vaasa to ensure the west coast city is seen as a strong contender for the venture.

Havainnekuva Vaasaan suunnitellusta Teslan tehtaasta.
An artist's rendition of the planned Gigafactory. Image: Vaasan kaupunki

For the past month, officials in the western coastal city of Vaasa have been working to attract Tesla Motors to establish Europe's first Gigafactory in Ostrobothnia.

The factory would produce lithium-based batteries for Tesla's electric cars and solar batteries.

In their pitches to the public, Vaasa officials noted the abundance of energy tech firms in the area and the city's proximity to one of the richest lithium mines in Europe.

While those reasons could well be motivating factors for Tesla to decide to move to the area, it's hardly a done deal.

Peltonen: The starting point is Finland

The Ministry of Economic Affairs says that Finland has agreed to focus on the west coast city as it prepares a bid to nab the massive energy project.

"We worked with Team Finland, where Vaasa is a major player. Vaasa's undeniable advantage is its strong concentration of energy sector expertise and ecosystems.," Economic Affairs Minister Mika Lintilä said in a statement Wednesday.

"If we want to succeed in this fierce international competition, we need to work together as one national team. We need the expertise of the entire country for this venture. I hope that as broad a network as possible will support the project," he added.

A week ago Vaasa held a seminar marking the start of Vaasa's Gigafactory application process. Officials say they plan to contact Tesla Motors to arrange an initial meeting soon.

Earlier this month Tesla's brand new Gigafactory in the US state of Nevada began to produce its first batteries. When complete, the Nevada facility will become the biggest building in the world.

Edit: Corrected at 7.54 on 26.01.2017 to reflect updated information that the Ministry for Employment and the Economy is supporting the city of Vaasa as the primary location for the proposed Gigafactory, and to include a comment from Minister Mika Lintilä.

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