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2 Jun, 2021 11:23

Musk not needed? Tesla founder's Russia factory plan questionable, as country's electric car industry already booming - governor

Musk not needed? Tesla founder's Russia factory plan questionable, as country's electric car industry already booming - governor

A network of production hubs proposed by billionaire Elon Musk as a way to supercharge Russia’s electric vehicle industry have fallen flat with one local politician, who said he would pull the plug on any possible partnership.

Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic coast, said that the American entrepreneur had little to offer the world’s largest country. Addressing the proposals, the politician argued that “we already produce electric cars and electric buses. What more genius does he have?”

Alikhanov added that, “from reports, as I understand it, his [electric vehicle] production is not the most profitable part of his business empire.”

At the same time, the governor singled out alternative energy sources, including solar and wind power, as important avenues for Russian industry. He said it is important that the country make “an effort to become a leader in this area.”

Also on rt.com Tesla looking at Russia as a potential production hub – Elon Musk

In a speech via video link to Moscow’s New Knowledge conference in May, Musk proposed setting up supply chains in the country, as well as in other former Soviet states. “There is a lot of talent and energy in Russia, and I think there should be more dialogue and communication between Russia and the United States,” the tech tycoon added.

READ MORE: Mass production of first Russian electric car to start by end of year

Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade reacted warmly to the suggestion, tweeting at the businessman to say “we were delighted to learn that you are considering building a factory in Russia,” as well as inviting him to talks about state support for the scheme. A number of regional governors have since sent proposals for their constituencies to be put into consideration as a possible site.

Also on rt.com Moscow offers Elon Musk talks on ‘state support’ as Tesla boss mulls opening production in Russia

In August last year, Russia’s industry and trade minister, Denis Manturov, revealed that the country’s first home-grown electric car, the Zetta, would begin entering mass production. It is hoped that around 2,000 vehicles will roll off the production line this year.

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