New Zealand wants its own Tesla Gigafactory: ‘This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity’

Elon Musk once noted that 100 Tesla Gigafactories would likely be enough to power the entire world with sustainable energy. If recent comments from New Zealand are any indication, it appears that the island nation would like to get one of these upcoming facilities for itself. 

In a statement to local news agency NewsTalkZB, Temuka-born electric vehicle-charging entrepreneur Nigel Broomhall noted that he intends to put together a coalition to pitch the idea of a Gigafactory New Zealand to the electric car maker. The entrepreneur noted that a Tesla facility could be established at Tiwai Point, which was the site of an aluminum smelter. 

Interestingly, the aluminum smelter in the location has its own hydro power generator to run the entire facility, which produces enough electricity to power a significant portion of New Zealand’s houses. With this in mind, a dedicated Tesla facility in New Zealand could end up being powered completely by renewable sources as soon as it goes online. 

Broomhall is a veteran of the electric vehicle sector, being in the industry for 18 years. He currently serves as the chief executive at ChargeSmart, an electric vehicle charging company. This experience, he noted, provides him with a unique position to broker a deal with Tesla. 

“Having this amount of renewable electricity available at such low prices is unique in the world. We have 1200-plus skilled people in Southland we could transition, and we have a deep-water port, roll-on, roll-off capability, and many raw materials used to make batteries next door in Australia. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that I believe will attract a top team to pull together a deal,” he said. 

Local officials are reportedly optimistic about the entrepreneur’s pitch, though some remain cautious about having any hope for a turnaround of the aluminum smelter site. The closure of the aluminum facility, after all, will result in a direct loss of 1000 jobs and 1600 indirect job losses, but the EV charging veteran noted that a Tesla facility could foster even more jobs for the region. 

Ultimately, the idea of a Gigafactory in New Zealand could be a long shot considering the island nation’s size. Its proximity to Australia may provide some advantages if the company opts for a Tesla Energy focused facility similar to Gigafactory New York, but such a factory could also be built in Australia instead. That being said, it’s a bit difficult to deny that the idea of a Gigafactory being powered completely by renewable energy from the get go is a pretty attractive proposition. 

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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