Tesla CEO Elon Musk has met with the South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Washington D.C this week, sparking speculation that the EV giant may be looking to build one of its next gigafactories in that country.
Yoon touted South Korea as an ideal country for Tesla to build a gigafactory, citing the country’s cutting-edge industrial robots and high-skilled workers, local news reports said.
“Should Tesla decide to invest, we will provide active support in terms of location, workforce and taxes,” he was quoted as saying.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency Musk responded that he expects to pay a visit to South Korea, saying the country remains an interesting and leading candidate to host a gigafactory.
The meeting took place at Musk’s request during Yoon’s state visit to the US, according to senior presidential secretary for economic affairs Choi Sang-mok.
NEWS: @elonmusk met today with the South Korean President in Washington D.C.
Meeting took place at Elon’s request. Yoon Suk Yeol asked Elon to build a gigafactory in SK & said “should @Tesla decide to invest, we’ll provide active support in terms of location, workforce & taxes” pic.twitter.com/YttaLdkUH1
— Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) April 26, 2023
Along with Germany, Japan and the US, South Korea has a large automotive industry and is the home of auto giants Hyundai and Kia. South Korea has a highly skilled workforce in automotive, robotics and smartphone industries which would make it an ideal place for a new gigafactory.
Tesla currently has major factories in Shanghai, California, Texas and Berlin and is beginning construction of a new factory in Mexico this year where it will produce Tesla’s 3rd generation platform vehicles.
The new manufacturing techniques that Tesla announced during its Investor Day presentation will be used in the new Mexico factory and will cut the cost of production by 50%.
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.