Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been in contact with German officials and may seek state support for the facility, Gabriel said at an event at a Mercedes-Benz factory in Rastatt, Germany. Gabriel didn’t provide details about the proposed plant or timing of a decision.
“We’re in talks” with the Tesla CEO about a possible plant, Gabriel said. “I assume he will want public funds.”
A battery factory in Germany would open a new front in Tesla’s competition with luxury-car leader BMW AG and former shareholder and Mercedes parent Daimler AG, which makes batteries in Kamenz in eastern Germany and plans to expand production. A new plant would also be a sign of more aggressive expansion as Tesla prepares to open its Gigafactory, the massive battery plant currently under construction outside of Reno, Nevada. Tesla has said that Germany is a key market for its household battery-storage systems.
Tesla has “no current plans to build a battery factory in Germany,” Munich-based spokeswoman Kathrin Schira said in an e- mail, without commenting on talks with the government.
©2015 Bloomberg News
This article was updated at 2:40 p.m. on Nov. 17 with comments from Tesla.