Tesla and Ontario, Canada have been discussing “investment opportunities” for years, documents show. This information and documents are part of a freedom of information document cache requested by the Electric Autonomy news platform.
Electric Autonomy has released information that Tesla and the government of Ontario have been discussing investment opportunities in the country for several years. The meetings and exchanges that took place between 2020 and 2023 are part of a Freedom of Information document cache requested by Electric Autonomy. Over the past three years, Tesla and Ontario officials from various government departments have met and corresponded about “investment opportunities” dozens of times.
The documents show that Ontario officials, including the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli and the Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, were in regular contact with Tesla's “decision makers.”
“I wanted to forward an article that announces the intention of Canada to subsidize EV battery production,” reads the December 2022 email sent by a commercial officer at the Ontario Trade and Investment Office in Dallas, TX, to three recipients, one of whom was Elon Musk. “Just another indication of the commitment of Canada to become a hub for EV production in the future.”
All correspondence is disclosed in documents obtained by Electric Autonomy through a freedom of information (FOI) request regarding Tesla communication between 2020 and 2023 with the Ontario government, the publication said.
Of the 150 documents found as part of the Freedom of Information request, only 20 were released to Electric Autonomy. Most of these were memos and emails, some of which were heavily edited. However, it is clear from the available data that the Ontario government was keen to get Tesla to invest in the country.
The notes had several topics for discussion. The issues covered were the end-to-end EV battery supply chain, a talented workforce, R&D opportunities with universities, mining opportunities, and a competitive manufacturing landscape. Tesla representatives showed that they would carefully follow the development of Canada in areas of interest to them.
“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,” reads a December 2022 email from Iain Myrans, national senior manager of public policy and development for Canada at Tesla.
“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.”
There are also references in the documents to Tesla's ongoing activities in Canada. There were references found to Jeff Dun's Tesla-funded lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax. However, the names of the company's other research locations were obscured.
The correspondence revealed that Tesla is interested in potential connected and autonomous vehicle research collaborations with “the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. [sic] The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network.”
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.