| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Macron to meet Elon Musk in Paris to talk Tesla investment

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he will meet with Tesla (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk for the second time in less than a month to pitch France as a prospective location for one of the electric vehicle (EV) maker’s facilities and to discuss tech regulation.

Officials previously told Reuters that France has been pursuing Chinese EV giant BYD (002594.SZ) and Tesla to develop facilities in the nation, but it is competing with other EU countries like as Spain, which is also in negotiations with Tesla, according to a source.

“I’m going (into that meeting) with an agenda,” Macron told reporters as he visited the VivaTech summit in Paris, France’s biggest tech fair, which Musk will visit on Friday.

“We’re going to talk about artificial intelligence, in which he is involved, social media, regulation framework… And then I’ll also talk to him about cars, batteries, to promote French and European attractiveness,” Macron said.

Asked specifically whether he was hoping to secure a Tesla gigafactory, Macron said: “It’s up to the company to look at these different issues in Europe. So we’ll be selling France” as an investment destination.

France has been catching up with other European nations in its goal to become a hub for the electric vehicle industry, thanks to generous subsidies and a more business-friendly environment and aggressive lobbying since Macron took power.

Its northern region has attracted four gigafactory projects, the first one inaugurated last month by a consortium including Peugeot-owner Stellantis (STLAM.MI), Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) and French oil major TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA).

Earlier today, the French minister for digital affairs Jean-Noel Barrot told CNBC: “It will be great to have a Tesla factory in France. There has been a lot of effort and energy to make sure this is possible and this can happen.”

Barrot added that France also has invested in an “entire sector of electric batteries” and will try to convince Musk “that France is the best possible place in Europe to establish the next Tesla factory.”

Musk, who met Macron and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on May 15, said then he was confident Tesla would make “significant investments” in France in the future, but did not provide a timeline.

France previously tried to convince Musk to build a gigafactory in the country, but he chose Germany for his only such plant in Europe so far.

  • Reuters