Elon Musk is considering a plan to build a Tesla Gigafactory in Cape Town to manufacture Powerwall batteries, Times Live has reported.
Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde told Times Live: “We very much want to have a Gigafactory here. If we get that right, it will make nuclear power generation obsolete.”
Tesla has said that its Nevada Gigafactory – a $5-billion project – would be known as “Gigafactory 1” and that there would be others.
It has been reported that the facility in Nevada will be the world’s second-largest production plant, behind Boeing’s aeroplane assembly building in the US.
Tesla has already produced its first batch of Powerwalls at Gigafactory 1, and the batteries are due in South Africa by the end of January 2016 at a retail price of between $3,600 and $4,000 – “depending on external factors.”
News of the potential Gigafactory in the Western Cape comes after a report that Evan Rice, former CEO of GreenCape, has been appointed Tesla’s business development manager for SA.
Tesla Motors is already planning to open an office in South African in early 2016, aimed at providing its energy storage solutions to local consumers and businesses.
According to Winde, Rice has been central to the discussions around building a Gigafactory in South Africa.
When Winde heard about the possibility that Tesla would establish a factory in the province, his department and GreenCape jumped into action.
“I said we needed to get involved, and that is when people at GreenCape started phoning Tesla in the US,” said Winde.
It is following these meetings that Tesla executives headhunted Rice, Times Live reported.
This article first appeared on BusinessTech and is republished with permission.