Elon Musk says he is considering opening Tesla factory in Russia

‘That would be great!’ Elon Musk flirts with opening a Tesla factory in Russia as he addresses a Moscow education forum at the Kremlin’s invitation

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed the forum in Moscow via a video link on Friday
  • ‘We are close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia,’ he told the group
  • Musk said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov invited him to participate
  • He called for more dialogue between Russia and the US 

Elon Musk has said that Tesla is considering opening a Tesla factory in Russia, as he spoke to an education forum in Moscow at the invitation of the Kremlin.

The Tesla CEO addressed the forum in Moscow by video link on Friday, saying ‘I think we are close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia – that would be great,’ according to the Wall Street Journal.

‘Over time, we will look to have factories in other parts of the world,’ he said, adding that Tesla was also looking at expanding in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet state on the Russian border.

Musk called for dialogue between the U.S. and Russia at a time when their ties are languishing at post-Cold War lows.

Elon Musk addressed the forum in Moscow by video link on Friday, saying ‘I think we are close to establishing a Tesla presence in Russia, that would be great’

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov (front) speaks at the New Knowledge Forum at the Moscow Digital Business Space as Musk appears on the screen behind him

‘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,’ Musk said.

Musk said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov invited him to participate in the forum, which is a festival for students that attracts science and tech entrepreneurs.

Speaking for 45 minutes, he made wide-ranging remarks toughing on the future of humanity, Mars exploration and religion.

He said that in the future, all transportation aside from rockets would be electric. 

‘I think we’ll look back at internal combustion engine cars in the same way we look back on steam engines,’ he said. It is happening very fast.’

The Russian market for electric vehicles is currently small, and at the start of this year, there were around 11,000 electric passenger cars registered in Russia, of which only 700 were Tesla models, the Journal reported.

Analysts say there are only about 400 electric charging stations in the country, holding back the growth of the industry. 

SpaceX CEO and Tesla product architect Elon Musk joins the New Knowledge forum via videolink at the Moscow Digital Business Space on Friday

Tesla is already well-established in China, which is the company’s second largest market and accounts for 30 percent of its sales.

Tesla now makes electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in a Shanghai plant. 

But the Chinese government continues to raise security concerns about Telsa vehicles, which are equipped with cameras. 

Staff at some Chinese government offices have been told not to park their Tesla cars inside government compounds due to security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The people said officials of at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have been instructed verbally by supervisors not to park their Tesla electric cars at work. 

Musk is seen in the passenger seat as he arrives at Tesla’s Berlin factory. The company also has production facilities in China, and Musk is looking to expand in other countries

It wasn’t clear how many cars were affected, the people said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions, nor whether the measure was a formal government injunction or a step adopted by agency officials. 

It was also unclear whether curbs applied to state agencies nationwide.

While sensors and cameras that can assist driving feature in many automakers’ vehicles, the people with knowledge of the matter said the restriction currently only applies to Tesla cars. 

In March, Tesla vehicles were banned from entering some military complexes in China, sources told Reuters then, citing security concerns over vehicle cameras. 

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