Tesla: Santa Catarina, the promised land of a million electric cars | The USA Print

In an open field, at the foot of a hill, a 1,600-hectare piece of land is about to become a key part of Tesla, the global company that manufactures electric cars. There are no engineers, no machinery yet. On the horizon, in the distance, you can only see the swaying of the trailers that go from the Monterrey-Saltillo highway loaded with auto parts and merchandise. The highway, barely dotted with a handful of garlic vendors, supports the daily traffic of vehicles heading to the Nuevo León metropolitan area. In these lands, under the shelter of an imposing sun and large mounds of earth, Elon Musk has decided to build one of the productive enclaves from which more than a million cars will be manufactured per year. Musk’s announcement about this factory, in which he will spend more than 6,000 million dollars, made a couple of days ago, has not yet taken away the tranquility of this industrial area where high-voltage power lines stand out among pastures.

The irregular landscape, dotted with mounds of earth, will be transformed in the coming weeks by the work of the heavy machinery that will prepare the ground to erect a three-story concrete mass to house the more than 7,000 workers who will manufacture their vehicles. Last generation. Adjacent to this land, which already has a billionaire owner, are located a handful of companies such as Noah Itech, Gonher, Siemens, Nemak and Katcon. Fernando Turner, executive director of Katcon and Tesla’s next neighbor, envisions the arrival of this industrial plant as an opportunity for the entire chain of automotive suppliers. Katcon is a Mexican multinational dedicated to the manufacture of catalytic converters and exhausts for combustion engines, however, they are already analyzing the migration of technology so as not to be left out of the business window that Tesla will open in Nuevo León. “For a long time we have quoted components for Tesla, but we still do not have orders, but we are confident that they will arrive, the arrival of Tesla is one more opportunity to increase sales and access the electric vehicle chain,” says Turner while looking into the distance. the land that Musk’s firm will occupy in months.

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The land on which the factory will be built as it currently appears.Julius Cesar Aguilar

The automotive boom generated by this plant, he points out, is an opportunity to create an ecosystem of economic benefits that reaches small and medium-sized Mexican companies. “The supply of Nuevo León is of world quality, here there are many companies that can provide Tesla with the quality it needs at the level of any part of the world, I say this because I have many plants in other parts of the world, what we need to convince Tesla to buy here,” he asserts. With more than 30 years in the sector, Turner reveals how the industrial corridor of Nuevo León, forged in the heat of steel furnaces, breweries and cement plants, extended its economic benefits beyond state limits to reach Coahuila, a State that is now also home to big players like General Motors and FIAT Chrysler.

Turner warns that the arrival of the firm in the municipality will also pose challenges, mainly mobility throughout the metropolitan area of ​​the State. The businessman adds that the arrival of Tesla will not be limited exclusively to Santa Catarina, on the contrary, it will extend to neighboring municipalities such as San Pedro and Monterrey, including the municipalities of Saltillo and Ramos Arizpe, in the neighboring state of Coahuila. “The corridor of the metropolitan area of ​​Nuevo León, which currently has about five and a half million inhabitants, will double in about ten years. That will mean more immigration, more people, and more of everything will be required. That means that those who build houses will sell more houses and thus, the industrial sector will respond, but more water, more roads, more transportation, more security will be needed, ”he refers.

A sign placed at a traffic light in Santa Catalina welcomes the company, in a photograph from this Thursday.
A sign placed at a traffic light in Santa Catalina welcomes the company, in a photograph from this Thursday.DANIEL BECERRIL (REUTERS)

“Thank God, Santa Catarina, in the eyes of the world. Tesla is one more great challenge, which encourages the city to show the international community what we are made of. This is just a great start”, the mayor of the municipality, Jesús Nava Rivera, wrote this week, before the imminent announcement of the installation of the next Tesla megafactory. Through his Facebook account, the mayor showed his emotion for the good news for the municipality and the arrival of a million-dollar investment.

Santa Catarina is a municipality located about 25 kilometers from Monterrey, within the metropolitan area of ​​Nuevo León and has just over 300,000 inhabitants. The demarcation, which was made official as a city in 1977, is framed by highways, trailers loaded with goods and railway wagons that show its industrial vocation. Although since last year other municipalities such as Tizayuca, in Hidalgo, fought to be the headquarters of this project, factors such as the proximity of the town to Texas —where Musk has an important production enclave— coupled with its proximity to other local industrial corridors like the one in Saltillo, less than an hour away by car and its proximity to the Nuevo León metropolitan area and therefore to all the services and places of leisure, have made the municipality the site chosen by Musk to develop his new hub of electromobility.

Aerial view of the site where the megafactory will be built.
Aerial view of the site where the megafactory will be built.DANIEL BECERRIL (REUTERS)

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