Earlier this week we reported that François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry was heading to California with his team on Friday to “meet with another automaker.” The comments came after Champagne met with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis at the Detroit Auto Show.
We suggested that meeting was going to be with Tesla, given the recent cozy relationship between the two as rumours of a major expansion into Canada by Tesla have been swirling for the last several weeks.
Today Champagne confirmed the meetings in California were with Tesla, posting a video to Twitter from inside the Fremont factory.
In the video the Minister says “we are here visiting their manufacturing facility, but also meeting with the senior management to talk about [the] battery electric vehicle obviously, the Canadian ecosystem, and how can we in Canada make an economy that works for everyone.”
Champagne added it was a “great meeting.”
En Californie auj pour rencontrer @Tesla afin de voir comment nous pouvons innover plus et faire plus ensemble!
In California today to meet with @Tesla to explore how we can innovate more and do more together! pic.twitter.com/sQ1ffxYC6a
— François-Philippe Champagne (FPC) 🇨🇦 (@FP_Champagne) September 16, 2022
This is not the first meeting between Tesla and the Canadian government. The two have met at least four times over the last six months, not including a visit by Champagne to Tesla’s facility in Markham, Ontario last month.
That facility builds some of the battery production equipment that will go into Giga Texas and Giga Berlin to support 4680 cell production.
All of these meetings are pointing towards a further expansion into Canada by Tesla. It all started earlier this summer when Elon Musk revealed in an internal company-wide meeting that Tesla was looking at sites in Canada and Mexico for its next North American factory.
Musk hinted that Canada was a frontrunner a few months later at the Annual Shareholders Meeting. After several attendees suggested Canada as a potential location, Musk said “I’m half Canadian, maybe I should.”
For their part, Tesla has also been lobbying the Ontario and federal governments to set up a facility north of the border. The automaker also signed a deal earlier this year with Vale for a Canadian supply of nickel.
They also may have dropped a not so subtle hint in the mobile app update last night.