It appears that Tesla and officials from Ontario, Canada, have been communicating about “investment opportunities” over the years. Documents outlining the correspondence between the electric vehicle maker and the Canadian province were reportedly retrieved by Electric Autonomy Canada through a freedom of information (FOI) request.
As noted by the publication, it submitted an FOI request on Tesla’s communications with the Ontario government between 2020 and 2023. From this, it was revealed that the EV maker has been in regular contact with several key officials from Ontario, such as Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli, and Minister of Energy Todd Smith, to name a few.
The correspondence reportedly involved some high-ranking Tesla executives as well, including CEO Elon Musk himself. One email reportedly sent last December by a commercial officer at the Ontario Trade and Investment Office in Dallas, TX, hinted at potential subsidies for EV battery production in the province. One of the email’s recipients was reportedly Musk.
“I wanted to forward an article that announces the intention of Canada to subsidize EV battery production. Just another indication of the commitment of Canada to become a hub for EV production in the future,” the letter read.
The publication noted that 150 documents were found as a result of its FOI request, and they spanned several topics. And while a notable number of the documents included redacted information, it was evident that Ontario is determined to secure an investment from the electric vehicle maker. One briefing note in particular, authored by a senior policy advisor for site planning and coordination at the Automotive Battery Office, explained how Ontario is an ideal site for Tesla.
“Ontario is the ideal destination for Tesla, thanks to our world-class automotive supply base with a growing electric vehicle assembly and battery supply chain footprint, reliable clean energy, critical mineral resources, a world-class workforce, and a thriving research and development (R&D) ecosystem,” the briefing note read.
Tesla’s own executives also appear to be optimistic about Ontario. An email from Iain Myrans, national senior manager of public policy and development for Canada at Tesla, indicated that the EV maker is noticing the wave of battery-related investments in the province.
“The multi-billion-dollar wave of investment by the industry into cathode, battery, and EV production in Ontario and Quebec has also been noticed over the past months. We also observed Bloomberg NEF battery supply chain ranking — putting Canada in the #2 spot, behind only China for battery materials processing and battery manufacturing. Ministers Champagne and Fedeli have both been in touch with me regularly to signal that Canada and Ontario will be ready to ensure Tesla gets a competitive and level playing field for any future investments,” the email read.
The idea of a potential Tesla Gigafactory in Canada was acknowledged by Elon Musk during the 2022 Cyber Rodeo. But since then, Tesla has confirmed and announced Giga Mexico instead. Despite this, Tesla has a strong presence in Canada. Electric Autonomy Canada‘s FOI request mentioned several research locations apart from the well-known Jeff Dahn Lab at Dalhousie University. These include a research center in Dartmouth that opened in 2016, a Mississauga-based research lab that opened in 2021, and a Markham facility that is involved in battery development and factory design, among others.
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